Skip to main content

Full text of "Personal narrative of a pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah"

See other formats

Presented to the 
library of the 






Uf ' ttmfe 








■Our Dotioni of Meccah must bo drawn from the Arabians; as no unbeliever Id permitted to enter the city, 
travellers are silent." — Gibbon, chap. 60. 

Wife gfep, mxh ftfoo lllttstraticrta. 








3 Vesey St., X. if. 




The English Edition of " Burton's Pilgrimage to 
El Medinah and Meccah" was originally published in 
three volumes, large octavo. In order to meet the 
requirements of the American public, both as regards 
the size and expense of the work, it has been deemed 
expedient to abridge and condense some chapters. The 
portions omitted, however, do not affect the narrative 
or the incidents of the visit to the Holy Places, but 
chiefly relate to Lieut. Burton's preliminary residence 
in Egypt, and to historical and ethnological considera- 
tions. An Appendix, containing a resume of former 
explorations, is also omitted, but its place is supplied 
by the introductory essay by Bayard Taylor. 

We believe that the readers of the narrative of 
Lieut. Burton's singular and dangerous journey will 
sustain us in the assertion, that no volume of modern 
travel possesses greater intrinsic interest or originality, 
while for graphic description it compares favorably 
with the "Eothen" of Kinglake, or the "Crescent and 
the Cross " of Warburton. 

321 Beoadway, 1ST. Y. 



The interest just now felt in everything that relates to 
the East would alone be sufficient to ensure to the 
author of "El Medinah and Meccah" the favorable 
consideration of the Reading Public. But when it is 
borne in mind that since the days of William Pitts of 
Exeter (a.d. 1678-1688) no European travellers, with 
the exception of Burckhardt* and Lieut. Burton,f have 
been able to send us back an account of their travels 
there, it cannot be doubted but that the present work 
will be hailed as a welcome addition to our knowledge 
of these hitherto mysterious penetralia of Mahommedan 
superstition. In fact, El Medinah may be considered 
almost a virgin theme; for as Burckhardt was pros- 
trated by sickness throughout the period of his stay in 
the Northern Hejaz, he was not able to describe it as 
satisfactorily or minutely as he did the southern coun- 
try, — he could not send a plan of the mosque, or correct 
the popular but erroneous ideas which prevail concern- 
ing it and the surrounding city. 

*In 1811. 

f Captain Sadlier is not mentioned, as his Frankish dress prevented 
Lis entering the city. 


The reader may question the propriety of introduc- 
ing, in a work of description, anecdotes which may 
appear open to the charge of triviality. The author's 
object, however, seems to be to illustrate the peculiari- 
ties of the people, — to dramatize, as it were, the dry 
journal of a journey, — and to preserve the tone of the 
adventures, together with that local coloring in which 
mainly consists k ' V education oVun voyage." 

It was during a residence of many years in India that 
Mr. Burton had fitted himself for his late undertaking, 
by acquiring, through his peculiar aptitude for such 
studies, a thorough acquaintance with various dialects 
of Arabia and Persia ; and, indeed, his Eastern cast of 
features seemed to point him out as the very person of 
all others best suited for an expedition like that de- 
scribed in the following pages. 

It will be observed that in writing Arabic, Hindoos- 
tannee, Persian, or Turkish words, the author has gene- 
rally adopted the system proposed by Sir William 
Jones and modified by later Orientalists. But when a 
word (like Fat-hah for Fatihah) has been " stamped" by 
general popular use, the conversational form lias been 
preferred ; and the same, too, may be said of the com- 
mon corruptions, Cairo, Kadi, &c, which, in any other 
form, would appear to us pedantic and ridiculous. 
Still, in the absence of the author, it must be expected 
that some trifling errors and inaccuracies will have here 
and there crept in. 


CHAPTER I. page 

A few "Words concerning what Induced me to a Pilgrimage, . . 17 

I Leave Alexandria, 29 

The Nile Steamboat, 41 

Life in the Wakalah, 48 

The Mosque, 73 

Preparations to Quit Cairo, 86 

From Cairo to Suez, , 94 

Suez, 107 


The Pilgrim Ship, 120 

ToYambu, 185 

The Halt at Yambu, 145 

From Yambu to Bir Abbas, 155 

From Bir Abbas to El Medinah, 1 67 

Through the Suburb of El Medinah to Hamid's House, .... 179 

A Visit to the Prophet's Tomb 194 



El Medinah, 230 

A Ride to the Mosque of Kuba, 243 

The Visitation of Hamzah's Tomb, 257 

The People of El Medinah, 273 

A Visit to the Saints' Cemetery, 290 


From El Medinah to El Suwayrkiyah, 304 


The Bedouins of El Hejaz, 318 

From El Suwayrkiyah to Meccah, 345 

The House of Allah, 366 

The First Visit to the House of Allah, 389 


Of Hajj, or Pilgrimage, 401 

The Ceremonies of the Yaum El Tarwiyah, 413 

The Ceremonies of the Day of Arafat, . . 423 

The Ceremonies of the Day of Victims, 432 

The Days of Drying Flesh, 446 

Life at Meccah, and the Little Pilgrimage, 453 


Places of Pious Visitation at Meccah, 469 

ToJeddah, 479 



The present century is already remarkable beyond the last, 
for the extent and richness of its contributions to geo- 
graphical knowledge ; but the generation in which we live 
Avill be especially noted hereafter as that which has pre- 
eminently invaded the few lingering haunts of fable, and 
brought their cherished mysteries under the microscopic 
lenses of modern eyes. Within ten years the courageous 
M. Hue has penetrated through the vast interior realms of 
China and Tartary, to the sacred city of Lha-Ssa, of which 
he has given the first satisfactory description ; Lieutenant 
Lynch has exploded the superstitious terrors with which 
the Dead Sea was regarded ; Dr. Barth has returned safely 
to Europe, after a residence of seven months at Tim- 
buctoo ; Dr. Krapf has looked upon the snowy pinnacles 
of the long lost Mountains of the Moon ; and now, Lieu- 
tenant Burton, having penetrated to Medina and Mecca, 
and entered the holiest sanctuaries of the Moslem faith, 
presents us with the picturesque story of his pilgrimage. 
The extreme reverence in which these cities are held, 


and that jealousy which prevents all acknowledged fol- 
lowers of other religions from visiting, or even approaching 
them, undoubtedly grew out of the fierce and fanatical 
character of Mohammedanism in its earlier days. The 
violence of that fanaticism is now over. Except in Arabia, 
the cradle and stronghold of Islam, the Frank Christians 
mingle freely with the followers of the Prophet, not only 
without indignity, but in many places as their friends and 
protectors. The rapid spread of intercourse between the 
East and the West, and, more than all, the recent alliance 
of Christian and Moslem powers in the war against Russia, 
has greatly weakened, and, in the course of time, may 
wholly obliterate, the bitterness of that religious prejudice 
which has hitherto been the characteristic of such inter- 
course. Its effect is already seen, in the facility with 
which travellers now obtain access to the sacred mosques 
of Constantinople and Cairo. Even the Mosque of Omar, 
at Jerusalem, where, five years ago, Christians were stoned 
for attempting to enter — whose gates would not open to a 
Frank for a firman of the Sultan himself — has alike become 
accessible to profane feet. The same change will even- 
tually overtake the more bigoted population of the Hedjaz, 
and future travellers, perhaps, in green veils and spectacles, 
may languidly scrutinize the mosques of Mecca. The 
success of such men as Burckhardt and Burton should not 
be ascribed, however, to this circumstance. It is entirely 
due to their courage, prudence, and perseverance, and to 
their intimate acquaintance with eastern life, and the cere- 
monials of the Moslem faith. 


The design of visiting Mecca has been a favorite one 
with travellers for centuries past, but the difficulties in the 
way of its prosecution have been so great, that the number 
of those who succeeded may be reckoned upon the fingers 
of one's hand. Lieutenant Burton, in an Appendix to the 
English edition of his work, gives extracts from the de- 
scriptions of his predecessors, which differ from his own and 
Burckhardt's in some trifling particulars, but correspond 
much more nearly than might have been expected from 
travellers of such different epochs. Gibbon, at the time of 
writing his " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," was 
not aware any Christian had reached Mecca up to that 
time. It appears, however, from Mr. Burton's investiga- 
tions, that two persons had accomplished the journey — 
Lodovico Bartema, a gentleman of Rome, in the year 
1603; and Joseph Pitts, of Exon, England, in 1680. To 
these may be added, in later years, Giovanni Finati, an 
Italian renegade, and Burckhardt, both in 1814, and 
Burton, in 1853. The French apostates in the service of 
Mohammed Ali, some of whom made the usual pilgrimage, 
as good Mussulmans, need not be reckoned. Some of them 
have published accounts of their experiences, it is true ; 
but, as new converts to the faith, they were regarded with 
distrust, and thereby prevented from making measure- 
ments or observations. Their accounts are therefore very 
inaccurate, and contribute nothing to our knowledge of the 
holy cities. 

The first traveller on the list, Lodovico Bartema, 
visited Damascus in his wanderings through the East, and 


there won the friendship of a Mameluke captain, who was 
a renegade Christian. Disguising himself as a Mameluke, 
he accompanied the latter on a pilgrimage to Mecca, appa- 
rently conducting himself as a devout Mussulman, for his 
real character was not suspected, although he was after- 
wards imprisoned for a time in Yemen, on acknowledging 
himself a Christian. His narrative has all the quaint sim- 
plicity and picturesque character of those of the early 
travellers, with no more credulity than is necessary to give 
piquancy to his story. Lieutenant Burton, who of course 
is thoroughly competent to judge on this point, places him 
in the foremost rank of the old oriental travellers, for cor- 
rectness of observation and readiness of wit. 

Joseph Pitts was an English boy, who, for love of 
adventure going to sea in his fifteenth or sixteenth year, 
was captured by Algerine pirates and sold as a slave. His 
master, who had been a great sinner, determined to 
convert him, as an atonement for his own impiety, and 
achieved his object by means of the bastinado. Pitts 
submitted to this violent conversion, and performed all the 
external forms and ceremonies required of him ; but hated 
the new faith in his heart, with a vehemence which was 
not in the least abated by fifteen years of Moslem life. He 
was taken to Mecca and El Medinah by his master, 
remained some months in the former city, and returned to 
Cairo. Having received his freedom, he determined to 
make his escape, in which, after various adventures, he 
succeeded, and returned safely to England. His de- 
scriptions of the Beit Allah (house of God) at Mecca, the 

I N T U O D U C T I O X . Xlll 

ceremonies on Mount Arafat, the stoning of the devil, and 
other features of the pilgrimage, are very circumstantial 
and correct, considering that they were written from 
memory, after a lapse of many years. Lieutenant Bur- 
ton finds little fault with Pitts, except his hatred and 
bigotry, which the manner of his conversion may well 

Finati was an ignorant and unprincipled Italian rene- 
gade, who made the campaign against the Wahabees for 
the recovery of Mecca and Medina, in the army of 
Mohammed Ali. Mr. Bankes, the English traveller, after- 
wards took him into his service, and translated the narra- 
tive of his adventures, which was dictated in Italian, as he 
was unable to write. The particulars he gives concerning 
the holy places of Mecca are very imperfect and unsatis- 
factory. Burckhardt, who made his visit to Mecca and 
Medina in the same year as Finati, may be considered 
as the first enlightened and experienced traveller who 
describes those places. He ventured on the undertaking 
only after years of preparation in the East, and a fami- 
liarity with the language and the faith so complete, that, 
under his assumed name of Shekh Ibrahim, his real cha- 
racter was unsuspected. Once only, when visiting Mo- 
hammed Ali, at Tayf, was he subjected to a rigid exami- 
nation on points of Mohammedan doctrine, by two learned 
shekhs ul-Islam, at the instance of the pasha, who had 
heard suspicions whispered against him in Cairo. Burck- 
hardt passed the test triumphantly, the shekhs declaring, 
that he was not only a genuine Mussulman, but one of 


unusual learning and piety. After performing all the 
ceremonies of the pilgrimage, he returned to Mecca, where 
he remained three months, before visiting Medina. At the 
latter place he was too ill to make many observations, 
and his descriptions are more meagre than usual. His 
accounts of the holy edifices of Mecca, and the pilgrim 
ceremonies, however, are very complete, and Burton pays 
the highest tribute to his correctness, by copying entire his 
description of the Kaaba. 

The present author, therefore, traverses a partly beaten 
track, but a track wherein the last success reflects as 
much honor as the first. His experiment, in fact, was even 
more daring than that of Burckhardt, whose assumed 
character was already recognised throughout the Orient, 
and who, after his examination at Tayf, was placed beyond 
the reach of suspicion. Burton, on the other hand, was a 
novice in this special field, and was obliged to disguise 
himself under a totally different character. He took his 
part with admirable boldness and skill, and when once 
suspected by the young Meccan rogue, Mohammed, whose 
travels had made his vision precociously keen, was zea- 
lously defended by the remainder of the party, who com- 
pletely silenced his accuser. Burton's narrative is especially 
valuable for his full and accurate particulars of the religious 
observances of the pilgrimage, and the various formulas 
of salutation and prayer. In this respect there is no other 
work of the kind equal to it. His descriptions of the holy 
edifices are scrupulously technical and careful ; and he 
gives us, for the first time, sketches of the sacred cities 


which impress us with their fidelity to nature. We could 
have desired more ample pictures of the scenery through 
which he passed, and the spirited account of the voyage 
from Suez to Yambu shows that he is not deficient in 
descriptive power. But much allowance must be made for 
the night travels of the pilgrim caravan, and the conse- 
quent fatigue of the traveller. He has the advantage over 
Burckhardt of writing in his mother-tongue, and his 
narrative is much richer in those characteristic personal 
incidents and adventures which are the vital spirit of books 
of travel. 

It is to be hoped that so prudent, daring, and intelli- 
gent a traveller will be permitted to carry out his original 
scheme of exploring the interior of the Arabian peninsula — 
one of the richest and most interesting fields of research 
now remaining. Certainly no one is better qualified for 
the undertaking. 

B. T. 
New Yoke, July 1st, 1856. 






In the autumn of 1852, through the medium of General 
Monteith, I offered my services to the Royal Geographical 
Society of London, for the purpose of removing that oppro- 
brium to modern adventure, the huge white blot which in 
our maps still notes the eastern and the central regions of 
Arabia. A deputation from that distinguished body, with 
their usual zeal for discovery and readiness to encourage 
the discoverer, honored me by warmly supporting, in a 
personal interview with the Chairman of the Court of 
Directors to the East India Company, my application for 
three years' leave of absence on special duty from India to 
Muscat. But they were unable to prevail upon Sir James 
Hogg, who, remembering the fatalities which of late years 
have befallen sundry soldier-travellers in the East, refused 
his sanction, alleging as a reason that the contemplated 


journey was of too dangerous a nature. In compensation, 
however, for the disappointment, I was graciously allowed 
the additional furlough of a year, in order to pursue my 
Arabic studies in lands where the language is best learned. 

What remained for me but to prove, by trial, that what 
might be perilous to other travellers is safe to me. The 
" experiment um crucis" was a visit to El Hejaz, at once 
the most difficult and the most dangerous point by which a 
European can enter Arabia. I had intended, had the 
period of leave originally applied for been granted, to land 
at Muscat — a favorable starting-place — and there to apply 
myself, slowly and surely, to the task of spanning the 
deserts. But now I was to hurry, in the midst of summer, 
after a four years' sojourn in Europe, during which many 
things Oriental had fallen away from my memory, and — 
after passing through the ordeal of Egypt, a country where 
the police is curious as in Rome or Milan — to begin with 
the Moslem's Holy Land, the jealously guarded and exclu- 
sive Haram. However, being liberally supplied with the 
means of travel by the Royal Geographical Society ; 
thoroughly tired of " progress" and of " civilization ;" 
curious to see with my eyes what others are content to 
" hear with ears," namely, Moslem's inner life in a really 
Mohammedan country; and longing, if truth be told, to 
set foot on that mysterious spot which no tourist had yet 
described, measured, sketched and daguerreotyped, I re- 
solved to resume an old character of a Persian wanderer,* 
and to make the attempt. 

The principal object with which I started was this : — To 
cross the unknown Arabian Peninsula, in a direct line from 
either El Medinah to Muscat, or diagonally from Meccah to 

* The vagrant, the merchant, and the philosopher, amongst Orientals, 
are frequently united in the same person. 


Makallah on the Indian Ocean. By what circumstances my 
plans were defeated, the reader will discover in the course of 
this volume. The secondary objects were numerous. I 
was desirous to find out if any market for horses could be 
opened between Central Arabia and India, where the studs 
are beginning to excite general dissatisfaction; to obtain 
information concerning the Great Eastern wilderness, the 
vast expanse marked Ruba el Khali (the empty abode) in 
our maps ; to inquire into the hydrography of the Hejaz, 
its water-shed, the disputed slope of the country, and the 
existence or non-existence of perennial streams ; and finally, 
to try, by actual observation, the truth of a theory proposed 
by the learned Orientalist, Col. Sykes, namely, that if history 
speak truth, in the population of the vast Peninsula there 
must exist certain physiological differences sufficient to 
warrant our questioning the common origin of the Arab 
family. As regards the horses, I am satisfied that from the 
Eastern coast something might be done, — nothing on the 
Western, where the animals, though " thorough-bred," 
are mere " weeds," of a foolish price, and procurable only 
by chance. Of the Ruba el Khali I have heard enough, 
from credible relators, to conclude that its horrid depths 
swarm with a large and half-starving population ; that 
it abounds in wadys, valleys, gullies, and ravines, par- 
tially fertilized by intermittent torrents ; and therefore, that 
the land is open only to the adventurous traveller. More- 
over, I am satisfied, that in spite of all geographers, from 
Ptolemy to Jormard, Arabia, which abounds in fiumaras* 

* In a communication made to the Royal Geographical Society, and 
published in the 24th vol. of the Journal, I have given my reasons for 
naturalising this word. It will be used in the following pages to 
express a " hill water-course, which rolls a torrent after rain, and 13 
either partially or wholly dry during the drought season." It is, in 
fact, the Indian " Nullah." 


possesses not a single perennial stream worthy the name of 
river; and the testimony of the natives induces me to 
think, with Wallin, contrary to Ritter and others, that the 
Peninsula falls instead of rising towards the south. Finally, 
I have found proof, to be produced in a future part of this 
publication, for believing in three distinct races. 1. The 
aborigines of the country, driven, like the Bheels and other 
autochthonic Indians, into the eastern and south-eastern 
wilds bordering upon the ocean. 2. A Syrian or Mesopo- 
tamian stock, typified by Shem and Joktan, that drove the 
indigent from the choicest tracts of country ; these invaders 
still enjoy their conquests, representing the great Arabian 
people. And 3. An impure Egypto-Arab clan — we per- 
sonify it by Ishmael, his son Nebajoth and Edom (Esau, 
the son of Isaac) — that populated and still populates the 
Sinaitic Peninsula. And in most places, even in the heart 
of Meccah, I met with debris of heathenry, proscribed by 
Mohammed, yet still popular, though the ignorant observers 
of the old customs assign to them a modern and a rational- 
istic origin. 

I have entitled this account of my summer's tour 
through El Hejaz, a personal narrative, and I have labored 
to make its nature correspond with its name, simply 
because " it is the personal that interests mankind." Many 
may not follow my example ;* but some, perchance, will be 
curious to see what measures I adopted, in order to appear 

* The only European I have met with who visited Meccah without 
apostatising, is M. Bertolucci, Swedish Consul at Cairo. This gentle- 
man persuaded the Bedouin camel men who were accompanying him 
to Taif, to introduce him in disguise ; he naively owns that his terror 
of discovery prevented his making any observations. Dr. Wallin, of 
Finland, performed the Haj in 1845 ; but his " somewhat perilous posi- 
tion, and the filthy company of Persians," were effectual obstacles to his 
taking notes. 


suddenly as an Eastern upon the stage of Oriental life ; and 
as the recital may be found useful by future adventurers, I 
make no apology for the egotistical semblance of the narra- 
tive. Those who have felt the want of some " silent friend" 
to aid them with advice, when it must not be asked, will 
appreciate what may appear to the uninterested critic mere 
outpourings of a mind full of self. 

In April, 1853, I left London for Southampton. By the 
advice of a brother officer — little thought at that time the 
adviser or the advised how valuable was the suggestion — 
my Eastern dress was called into requisition before leaving 
town, and all my " impedimenta" were taught to look 
exceedingly Oriental. Early the next day a " Persian 
Prince" embarked on board the Peninsular and Oriental 
Company's screw steamer " Bengal." 

A fortnight was profitably spent in getting into the 
train of Oriental manners. For what polite Chesterfield 
says of the difference between a gentleman and his reverse 
— namely, that both perform the same offices of life, but 
each in a several and widely different way — is notably as 
applicable to the manners of the Eastern as of the Western 
men. Look, for instance, at an Indian Moslem drinking a 
glass of water. With us the operation is simple enough, 
but his performance includes no less than five novelties. 
In the first place, he clutches his tumbler as though it were 
the throat of a foe ; secondly, he ejaculates, " In the name 
of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful !" before wetting 
his lips ; thirdly, he imbibes the contents, swallowing them, 
not drinking, and ending with a satisfied grunt ; fourthly, 
before setting down the cup, he sighs forth, " Praise be to 
Allah !" — of which you will understand the lull meaning in 
the Desert ; and, fifthly, he replies, " May Allah make it 
pleasant to thee !" in answer to his friend's polite " Pleasur- 
ably and health!" Also he is careful to avoid the irreli- 


gious action of drinking the pure element in a standing 
position, mindful, however, of the three recognised excep- 
tions, the fluid of the Holy Well, Zem-zem, water distri- 
buted in charity, and that which remains after Wuzu, 
the lesser ablution. Moreover, in Europe one forgets the 
use of the right hand, the manipulation of the rosary, the 
abuse of the chair, — your genuine Oriental looks almost 
as comfortable in one as a sailor upon the back of a high- 
trotting horse — the rolling gait with the toes straight to 
the front, the grave look and the habit of pious ejacula- 

Our voyage over the " summer sea" was an eventless 

The ship was in every way comfortable ; the cook, 
strange to say, was good, and the voyage lasted long 
enough, and not too long. On the evening of the thir- 
teenth day after our start, the big-trowsered pilot, so 
lovely in his deformities to western eyes, made his appear- 
ance, and the good screw " Bengal" found herself at anchor 
off the Headland of Figs. 

Having been invited to start from the house of a kind 
friend, I disembarked with him, and rejoiced to see that by 
dint of a beard and a shaven head I had succeeded in mis- 
leading the inquisitive spirit of the populace. The mingled 
herd of spectators before whom we passed in review on the 
landing-place, hearing an audible " Alhamdulillah,"* whis- 
pered " Moslem !" The infant population spared me the 
compliments usually addressed to hatted heads ; and when 
a little boy, presuming that the occasion might possibly 
open the hand of generosity, looked in my face and 

* "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the (three) worlds!"' a pious ejacula- 
tion, which leaves the lips of the True Believer on all occasions of con- 
cluding actions. 

THE "KAIF." 23 

exclaimed, " Bakhshish,"* he obtained in reply " Mafish ;"f 
which convinced the bystanders that the sheep-skin con- 
tained a real sheep. We then mounted a carriage, fought 
our way through the donkeys, and in half an hour found 
ourselves, chibouque in mouth and coffee-cup in hand, 
seated on divans in my friend's hospitable house. 

Wonderful was the contrast between the steamer and 
that villa on the Mahmudiyah canal ! Startling the sudden 
change from presto to adagio life! In thirteen days we 
had passed from the clammy grey fog, that atmosphere of 
industry which kept us at an anchor off the Isle of Wight, 
through the liveliest air of the inland sea, whose sparkling 
blue and purple haze spread charms even on Africa's bel- 
dame features, and now we were sitting silent and still, lis- 
tening to the monotonous melody of the East — the soft 
night-breeze wandering through starlight skies and tufted 
trees, with a voice of melancholy meaning. 

And this is the Arab's Kaif. The savoring of animal 
existence ; the passive enjoyment of mere sense ; the plea- 
sant languor, the dreamy tranquillity, the airy castle-build- 
ing, which in Asia stand in lieu of the vigorous, intensive, 
passionate life of Europe. It is the result of a lively, 
impressible, excitable nature, and exquisite sensibility of 
nerve, — a facility for voluptuousness unknown to northern 
regions ; where happiness is placed in the exertion of men- 

* " Bakhshish" says a modern writer, " is a fee or present which the 
Arabs (he here means the Egyptians, who got the word from the Per- 
sians through the Turks) claim on all occasions for services you render 
them, as well as for services they have rendered you. This bakhshish, 
in fact, is a sort of alms or tribute, which the poor Arab believes him- 
self entitled to claim from every respectable-looking person." 

f Mafish, " There is none," equivalent to, " I have left my purse at 
home." Nothing takes the Oriental mind so much as a retort allitera- 
tive or jingling. 


tal and physical powers ; where niggard earth commands 
ceaseless sweat of brow, and damp chill air demands per- 
petual excitement, exercise, or change, or adventure, or 
dissipation, for want of something better. In the East, 
man requires but rest and shade : upon the banks of a bub- 
bling stream, or under the cool shelter of a perfumed tree, 
he is perfectly happy, smoking a pipe, or sipping a cup of 
coffee, or drinking a glass of sherbet, but, above all things, 
deranging body and mind as little as possible ; the trouble 
of conversations, the displeasures of memory, and the vanity 
of thought being the most unpleasant interruptions to his 
Kaif. No wonder that Kaif is a word untranslatable in 
our mother-tongue !* 

The better to blind the inquisitive eyes of servants and 
visitors, my friend lodged me in an outhouse, where I could 
revel in the utmost freedom of life and manners. And 
although some Armenian Dragoman, a restless spy like all 
his race, occasionally remarked that "voila un Persan 
diablement degage," none, except those who were entrusted 
with the secret, had any idea of the part I was playing. 
The domestics, devout Moslems, pronounced me to be an 
Ajemi,* a kind of Mohammedan, not a good one like them- 
selves, but still, better than nothing. I lost no time in 
securing the assistance of a Shaykh,f and plunged once 
more into the intricacies of the Faith, revived my recollec- 
tions of religious ablution, read the Koran, and again became 
an adept in the art of prostration. My leisure hours were 
employed in visiting the baths and coffee-houses, in attend- 

* In a coarser sense "kaif" is applied to all manner of intoxication. 
Sonnini is not wrong when he says, " the Arabs give the name of Kaif 
to the voluptuous relaxation, the delicious stupor, produced by the 
smoking of hemp." 

\ A Persian opposed to an Arab. 

% A priest, elder, chieftain, language-master, &c. <feo. 


ing the bazaars, and in shopping, — an operation which 
hereabouts consists of sitting upon a chapman's counter, 
smoking, sipping coffee, and telling your beads the while, to 
show that you are not of the slaves for whom time is made ; 
in fact, in pitting your patience against that of your adversary 
the shopman. 

Careful of graver matters, I also attended the mosque, 
and visited the venerable localities in which modern Alex- 
andria abounds. 

It is not to be supposed that the people of Alexandria 
could look upon my phials and pill-boxes, without a yearning 
for their contents. An Indian doctor, too, was a novelty 
to them ; Franks they despised, but a man who had come 
so far from the West ! Then there was something infinitely 
seducing in the character of a magician, doctor, and fakir, 
each admirable of itself, thus combined to make " great 
medicine." Men, women, and children besieged my door, 
by which means I could see the people face to face, and 
especially the fair sex, of which Europeans, generally speak- 
ing, know only the worst specimens. Even respectable 
natives, after witnessing a performance of " Mandal " and 
the Magic mirror,* opined that the stranger was a holy 
man, gifted with supernatural powers, and knowing every- 
thing. One old person sent to offer me his daughter in 
marriage ; he said nothing about dowry, but on this occasion 
I thought proper to decline the honor. And a middle-aged 
lady proffered me the sum of 100 piastres, nearly one pound 

* Form of Oriental divination which owes its present celebrity in 
Europe to Mr. Lane. Both it and the magic mirror are hackneyed sub- 
jects, but I have been tempted to a few words concerning them in 
another part of this volume. Meanwhile I request the reader not to 
set me down as a mere charlatan ; medicine in the East is so essentially 
united with superstitious practices, that he who would pass for an expert 
practitioner, must necessarily represent himself an " adept." 



sterling, if I would stay at Alexandria, and superintend the 
restoration of her blind eye. 

But the reader must not be led to suppose that I acted 
" Carabin," or " Sangrado," without any knowledge of my 
trade. From youth I have always been a dabbler in medi- 
cal and mystical study. Moreover, the practice of physic is 
comparatively easy amongst dwellers in warm latitudes, 
uncivilised people, where there is not that complication of 
maladies which troubles more polished nations. And fur- 
ther, what simplifies extremely the treatment of the sick in 
these parts is, the undoubted periodicity of disease, reducing 
almost all to one type — ague.* Many of the complaints of 
tropical climates, as medical men well know, display palpa- 
bly intermittent symptoms unknown to colder countries ; 
and speaking from individual experience, I may safely 
assert that in all cases of suffering, from a wound to 
ophthalmia, this phenomenon has forced itself into my 
notice. So much by way of excuse. I therefore considered 
myself as well qualified for the work as if I had taken out a 
buono per P ester o diploma at Padua. 

After a month's hard work at Alexandria, I prepared to 
assume the character of a wandering Dervish, after reform- 
ing my title from " Mirsa " f to " Shaykh " Abdullah.} A 

* Hence the origin, I believe, of the chronothermal practice, a dis- 
covery which physic owes to Dr. Dickson. 

| The Persian " Mister." In future chapters the reader will see the 
uncomfortable consequences of my having appeared in Egypt as a Per- 
sian. Although I found out the mistake, and worked hard to correct 
it, the bad name stuck to me ; bazaar reports fly quicker and hit harder 
than newspaper paragraphs. 

\ Arab Christians sometimes take the name of " Abdullah," servant 
of God — " which," as a modern traveller observes, " all sects and religions 
might be equally proud to adopt." The Moslem Prophet said, " the 
names most approved of God are, Abdullah, Abd-el-rahman (slave of 
the compassionate), and such like." 

A dervish's the safest disguise. 27 

reverend man, whose name I do not care to quote, some 
time ago initiated me into his order, the Kadiriyah, under 
the high-sounding name of Bismillah-Shah : * and, after a 
due period of probation, he graciously elevated me to the 
proud position of a Murshid § in the mystic craft. I was 
therefore sufficiently well acquainted with the tenets and 
practices of these Oriental Freemasons. No character in the 
Moslem world is so proper for disguise as that of the Der- 
vish. It is assumed by all ranks, ages, and creeds; by the 
nobleman who has been disgraced at court, and by the 
peasant who is too idle to till the ground ; by Dives, who is 
weary of life, and by Lazarus, who begs bread from door to 
door. Further, the Dervish is allowed to ignore ceremony 
and politeness, as one who ceases to appear upon the stage 
of life ; he may pray or not, marry or remain single as he 
pleases, be respectable in cloth of frieze as in cloth of gold, 
and no one asks him — the chartered vagabond — Why he 
comes here ? or Wherefore he goes there ? He may wend 
his way on foot alone, or ride his Arab steed followed by a 
dozen servants ; he is equally feared without weapons, as 
swaggering through the streets armed to the teeth. The 
more haughty and offensive he is to the people, the more 
they respect him ; a decided advantage to the traveller of 
choleric temperament. In the hour of imminent danger, he 
has only to become a maniac, and he is safe ; a madman in 
the East, like a notable eccentric character in the West, is 
allowed to say or do whatever the spirit directs. Add to 
this character a little knowledge of medicine, a " moderate 

* " King in-the-name-of- Allah," a kind of Oriental " Praise-God-Bare- 
bones." When a man appears as a Fakir or Dervish, he casts off, in 
process of regeneration, together with other worldly sloughs, his laical 
name for some brilliant coat of nomenclature rich in religious promise. 

f A Murshid is one allowed to admit Murids or apprentices into the 


skill in magic and a reputation for caring for nothing but 
study and books," together with capital sufficient to save 
you from the chance of starving, and you appear in the 
East to peculiar advantage. The only danger of the 
" Path " * is, that the Dervish's ragged coat not unfrequently 
covers the cut-throat, and, if seized in the society of such a 
"brother," you may reluctantly become his companion, 
under the stick or on the stake. For be it known, Der- 
vishes are of two orders, the Sharai, or those who conform 
to religion, and the Be-Sharai, or Luti, whose practices are 
hinted at by their own tradition that " he we daurna name " 
once joined them for a week, but at the end of that time 
left them in dismay, and returned to whence he came. 

* The Tarikat or path, which leads, or is supposed to lead, to 



The thorough-bred wanderer's idiosyncrasy I presume to 
be a composition of what phrenologists call " inhabitive- 
ness" and " locality" equally and largely developed. After 
a long and toilsome march, weary of the way, he drops into 
the nearest place of rest to become the most domestic 
of men. For a while he smokes the " pipe of permanence"* 
with an infinite zest ; he delights in various siestas during 
the day, relishing withal a long sleep at night ; he enjoys 
dining at a fixed dinner hour, and wonders at the demoral- 
isation of the mind which cannot find means of excitement 
in chit-chat or small talk, in a novel or a newspaper. But 
soon the passive fit has passed away ; again a paroxysm of 
ennui coming on by slow degrees, Viator loses appetite, he 
walks about his room all night, he yawns at conversations, 
and a book acts upon him as a narcotic. The man wants to 
wander, and he must do so or he shall die. 

After about a month most plensantly spent at Alexandria, 
I perceived the approach of the enemy, and as nothing ham- 

* The long pipe which at home takes the place of the shorter chi- 
bouque used on the road. 


pered my incomings and outgoings, I surrendered. The 
world was " all before me," and there was pleasant excite- 
ment in plunging single-handed into its chilling depths. 
My Alexandrian Shaykh, whose heart fell victim to a new 
" jubbeh," which I had given in exchange for his tattered 
zaabut,* offered me, in consideration of a certain monthly 
stipend, the affections of a brother and religious refresh- 
ment, proposing to send his wife back to her papa, and to 
accompany me, in the capacity of private chaplain, to the 
other side of Kaf.f I politely accepted the " Bruder- 
schaft," but many reasons induced me to decline his society 
and services. In the first place, he spoke the detestable 
Egyptian jargon. Secondly, it was but prudent to lose the 
" spoor" between Alexandria and Suez. And, thirdly, my 
"brother" had shifting eyes (symptoms of fickleness), close 
together (indices of cunning) ; a flat-crowned head, and 
large ill-fitting lips ; signs which led me to think lightly of 
his honesty, firmness, and courage. Phrenology and phy- 
siognomy, be it observed, disappoint you often amongst 
civilised people, the proper action of whose brains and 
features is impeded by the external pressure of education, 
accident, example, habit, necessity, and what not. But they 
are tolerably safe guides when groping your way through the 
mind of man in his natural state, a being of impulse in that 
chrysalis stage of mental development which is rather 
instinct than reason. But before my departure there was 
much to be done. 

* The jubbeh is a long outer garment, generally of cloth, worn by 
learned and respectable men. The zaabut is a large bag-sleeved black 
or brown colored robe, made of home-spun woollen, the garb of the 
peasant, the hedge-priest, and the dervish. 

jf The mountain which encircles the globe, according to the sacred 
geography of the Moslems. To "go to Kaf " is equivalent to our " go 
to Jericho," or — somewhere else. 


The land of the Pharaohs is becoming civilised, and 
unpleasantly so ; nothing can be more uncomfortable than 
its present middle state, between barbarism and the reverse. 
The prohibition against carrying arms is rigid as in Italy ; 
all " violence" is violently denounced, and beheading being 
deemed cruel, the most atrocious crimes, as well as those 
small political offences, which in the days of the Mamelukes 
would have led to a beyship or a bow-string, receive four- 
fold punishment by deportation to Faizoghli, the local 
Cayenne. If you order your peasant to be flogged, his 
friends gather in threatening hundreds at your gates ; when 
you curse your boatman, he complains to your consul ; the 
dragomans afflict you with strange wild notions about 
honesty ; a government order prevents you from using 
vituperative language to the " natives" in general ; and the 
very donkey boys are becoming cognisant of the right of 
man to remain unbastinadoed. Still the old leaven remains 
behind : here, as elsewhere in " morning-land," you cannot 
hold your own without employing your fists. The passport 
system, now dying out of Europe, has sprung up, or rather 
revived in Egypt, with peculiar vigor. Its good effects 
claim for it our respect ; still we cannot but lament its incon- 
venience. TFe, I mean real Easterns. As strangers — even 
those whose beards have whitened in the land — know abso- 
lutely nothing of what unfortunate natives must endure, I 
am tempted to subjoin a short sketch of my adventures in 
search of a Tezkireh at Alexandria.* 

Through ignorance which might have cost me dear but 
for my friend's weight with the local authorities, I had 
neglected to provide myself with a passport in England, 
and it was not without difficulty, involving much unclean 
dressing and an unlimited expenditure of broken English, 

* A passport in this country is called a Tezkireh. 


that I obtained from the consul at Alexandria, a certificate, 
declaring me to be an Indo-British subject named Abdullah, 
by profession a doctor, aged thirty, and not distinguished 
— at least so the frequent blanks seemed to denote — by 
any remarkable conformation of eyes, nose, or cheek. For 
this I disbursed a dollar. 

My new passport would not carry me without the Zabit 
or Police Magistrate's counter-signature, said the consul. 
Next day I went to the Zabit, who referred me to the 
Muhafiz (Governor) of Alexandria, at whose gate I had the 
honor of squatting at least three hours, till a more compas- 
sionate clerk vouchsafed the information that the proper 
place to apply to was the Diwan Kharijiyeh (the Foreign 
Office). Thus a second day was utterly lost. On the 
morning of the third I started, as directed, for the palace, 
which crowns the Headland of Figs. It is a huge and 
couthless shell of building in parallelogrammic form, con- 
taining all kinds of public offices in glorious confusion, look- 
ing with their glaring white-washed faces upon a central 
court, where a few leafless wind-wrung trees seem strug- 
gling for the breath of life in an eternal atmosphere of 
clay, dust, and sun-blaze. 

The first person I addressed was a Kawwas or police 
officer, who, coiled comfortably up in a bit of shade fitting 
his person like a robe, was in full enjoyment of the Asiatic 
"Kaif." Having presented the consular certificate and 
briefly stated the nature of my business, I ventured to in- 
quire what was the right course to pursue for a visa. 

They have little respect for Dervishes, it appears, at 
Alexandria ! 

M'adri — " Don't know," growled the man of authority, 
without moving any thing but the quantity of tongue ne- 
cessary for articulation. 

Now there are three ways of treating Asiatic officials, — 


by bribe, by bullying, or by bothering them with a dogged 
perseverance into attending to you and your concerns. 
The latter is the peculiar province of the poor ; moreover, 
this time I resolved, for other reasons, to be patient. I 
repeated my question in almost the same words. Huh ! 
" Be off," was what I obtained for all reply. But this time 
the questioned went so far as to open his eyes. Still I stood 
twirling the paper in my hands, and looking very humble 
and very persevering, till a loud Ruh ya Kalb ! "GoO 
dog !" converted into a responsive curse the little speech I 
was preparing about the brotherhood of El-Islam and the 
mutual duties obligatory on true believers. I then turned 
away slowly and fiercely, for the next thing might have 
been a cut with the Kurbaj,* and, by the hammer of Thor! 
British flesh and blood could never have stood that. 

After which satisfactory scene, — for satisfactory it was 
in one sense, proving the complete fitness of the Dervish's 
dress, — I tried a dozen other promiscuous sources of informa- 
tion, — policemen, grooms, scribes, donkey boys, and idlers 
in general. At length, wearied of patience, I offered a 
soldier some pinches of tobacco, and promised him an 
oriental sixpence if he would manage the business for me. 
The man was interested by the tobacco and the pence ; he 
took my hand, and inquiring the while he went along, led 
me from place to place, till, mounting a grand staircase, I 
stood in the presence of Abbas Effendi, the governor's 
Naib or deputy. 

It was a little, whey-faced, black-bearded Turk, coiled 
up in the usual conglomerate posture upon a calico-covered 
divan, at the end of a long bare large-windowed room. 
Without deigning even to nod the head, which hung over 

* A whip of dried and twisted hippopotamus hide, the ferule, horse- 
whip, and "cat' o' nine tails*' of Egypt. 



his shoulder with transcendent listlessness and affectation 
of pride, in answer to my salams and benedictions, he eyed 
me with wicked eyes, and faintly ejaculated " Min ent ?" * 
Then hearing that I was a Dervish and doctor — he must be 
an Osmanli Voltairian, that little Turk — the official snorted 
a contemptuous snort. He condescendingly added, how- 
ever, that the proper source to seek was " Taut," which 
meaning simply " below," conveyed rather imperfect 
information in a topographical point of view to a stran- 

At length, however, my soldier guide found out that a 
room in the custom-house bore the honorable appellation 
of " Foreign Office." Accordingly I went there, and, after 
sitting at least a couple of hours at the bolted door in the 
noon-day sun, was told, with a fury which made me think 
I had sinned, that the officer in whose charge the depart- 
ment was, had been presented with an olive branch in the 
morning, and consequently that business was not to be 
done that day. The angry-faced official communicated the 
intelligence to a large group of Anadolian, Caramanian, 
Boshniac, and Roumelian Turks, — sturdy, undersized, broad- 
shouldered, bare-legged, splay-footed, horny-fisted, dark- 
browed, honest-looking mountaineers, who were lounging 
about with long pistols and yataghans stuck in their broad 
sashes, head-gear composed of immense tarbooshes with 
proportionate turbans coiled round them, and two or three 
suits of substantial clothes, even at this season of the year, 
upon their shoulders. 

Like myself they had waited some hours, but they were 
not patient under disappointment: they bluntly told the 
angry official that he and his master were a pair of idlers, 
and the curses that rumbled and gurgled in their hairy 

* For "man anta?" who art thou? 


throats as they strode towards the door, sounded like the 
growling of wild beasts. 

Thus was another day truly orientally lost. On the 
morrow, however, I obtained permission, in the character 
of Dr. Abdullah, to visit any part of Egypt I pleased, and 
to retain possession of my dagger and pistols. 

And now I must explain what induced me to take so 
much trouble about a passport. The home reader naturally 
inquires, why not travel under your English name ? 

For this reason. In the generality of barbarous 
countries you must either proceed, like Bruce, preserving 
the " dignity of manhood," and carrying matters with a 
high hand, or you must worm your way by timidity and 
subservience ; in fact, by becoming an animal too contempt- 
ible for man to let or injure. But to pass through the 
Holy Land, you must either be a born believer, or have 
become one ; in the former case you may demean yourself 
as you please, in the latter a path is ready prepared for you. 
My spirit could not bend to own myself a renegade — to be 
pointed at and shunned and catechised, an object of sus- 
picion to the many and of contempt to all. Moreover, it 
would have obstructed the aim of my wanderings. The 
convert is always watched with Argus eyes, and men do 
not willingly give information to a " new Moslem," especially 
a Frank: they suspect his conversion to be a feigned or 
forced one, look upon him as a spy, and let him see as little 
of life as possible. Firmly as was my heart set upon travel- 
ling in Arabia, by Heaven! I would have given up the 
dear project rather than purchase a doubtful and partial 
success at such a price. Consequently, I had no choice but 
to appear as a born believer, and part of my birthright in 
that respectable character was toil and trouble in obtaining 
a tezkirah. 

Then I had to provide myself with certain necessaries 


for the way. These were not numerous. The silver- 
mounted dressing-case is here supplied by a rag containing 
a miswak,* a bit of soap and a comb (wooden), for bone 
and tortoiseshell are not, religiously speaking, correct. 
Equally simple was my wardrobe ; a change or two of 
clothing.f The only article of canteen description was a 
zemzemiyah, a goat-skin water-bag, which communicates to 
its contents, especially when new, a ferruginous aspect and 
a wholesome, though hardly an attractive flavor of tanno- 
gelatine. This was a necessary ; to drink out of a tumbler, 
possibly fresh from pig-eating lips, would have entailed a 
certain loss of reputation. For bedding and furniture I had 
a coarse Persian rug — which, besides being couch, acts as 
chair, table, and oratory — a cotton stuffed chintz-covered 
pillow, a blanket in case of cold, and a sheet, which does 
duty for tent and mosquito curtains in nights of heat.]; As 
shade is a convenience not always procurable, another neces- 
sary was a huge cotton umbrella of Eastern make, brightly 
yellow, suggesting the idea of an overgrown marigold. I 
had also a substantial housewife, the gift of a kind friend ; 
it was a roll of canvas, carefully soiled, and garnished with 

* A stick of soft wood chewed at one end. It is generally used 
throughout the East, where brushes should be avoided, as the natives 
always suspect hogs' bristles. 

f It is a great mistake to carry too few clothes, and those who travel 
as Orientals should always have at least one very grand suit for use 
on critical occasions. Throughout the East a badly dressed man is a 
pauper, and a pauper — unless he belongs to an order having a right to 
be poor — is a scoundrel. 

\ Almost all Easterns sleep under a sheet, which becomes a kind of 
respirator, defending them from the dews and mosquitoes by night and 
the flies by day. The " rough and ready " traveller will learn to follow 
the example, remembering that " nature is founder of customs in savage 
countries ; " whereas, amongst the soi-disant civilized, nature has no 
deadlier enemy than custom. 


needles and thread, cobblers'-wax, buttons, and other such 
articles. These things were most useful in lands where 
tailors abound not ; besides which, the sight of a man darn- 
ing his coat or patching his slippers teems with pleasing 
ideas of humility. A dagger, a brass inkstand, and pen- 
holder stuck in my belt, and a mighty rosary, which on 
occasion might have been converted into a weapon of offence, 
completed my equipment. I must not omit to mention the 
proper method of carrying money, which in these lands 
should never be entrusted to box or bag. A common cot- 
ton purse secured in a breast pocket (for Egypt now 
abounds in that civilized animal the pickpocket), contained 
silver pieces and small change. My gold, of which I carried 
twenty-five sovereigns, and papers, were committed to a 
substantial leathern belt of Maghrabi manufacture, made to 
be strapped round the waist under the dress. This is the 
Asiatic method of concealing valuables, and a more civilized 
one than ours in the last century, when Roderic Random 
and his companion " sewed their money between the lining 
and the waistband of their breeches, except some loose 
silver for immediate expense on the road." The great in- 
convenience of the belt is its weight, especially where dollars 
must be carried, as in Arabia, causing chafes and inconveni- 
ence at night. Moreover, it can scarcely be called safe. In 
dangerous countries wary travellers will adopt surer pre- 

A pair of common native khurjin or saddle-bags contained 
my wardrobe, the " bed," readily rolled up into a bundle, 

* Some prefer a long chain of pure gold divided into links and 
covered with leather, so as to resemble the twisted girdle which the Arab 
fastens round his waist. It is a precaution well known to the wandering 
knights of old. Others, again, in very critical situations, open with a 
lancet the shoulder, or any other fleshy part of the body, and insert a 
precious stone, which does not show in its novel purse. 


and for a medicine chest * I bought a pea-green box with 
red and yellow flowers, capable of standing falls from a 
camel twice a day. 

The next step was to find out when the local steamer 
would start for Cairo, and accordingly I betook myself to 
the Transit Office. No vessel was advertised ; I was 
directed to call every evening till satisfied. At last the 
fortunate event took place. A " weekly departure," which, 
by the by, occurred once every fortnight or so, was in 
order for the next day. I hurried to the office, but did not 
reach it till past noon — the hour of idleness. A little, dark 
gentleman, so formed and dressed as exactly to resemble a 
liver-and-tan bull-terrier, who, with his heels on the table, 
was dozing, cigar in mouth, over the last " Galignani," 
positively refused, after a time — for at first he would not 
speak at all — to let me take my passage till three in the 

* Any " Companion to the Medicine Chest " will give, to those that 
require such information, the names of drugs and instruments necessary 
for a journey : but it must be borne in mind that hot countries require 
double quantities of tonics, and half the allowance of cathartics, neces- 
sary in cold climates. Sonnini, however, is right when he says of the 
Egyptian fellahs, that their stomachs, accustomed to digest bread badly 
baked, acrid and raw vegetables, and other green and unwholesome 
nourishment, require doses fit only for horses. 

Advisable precautions are, in the first place, to avoid, if travelling 
as a native, any signs of European manufacture in knives, scissors, 
weights, scales, and other such articles. Secondly, glass bottles are use- 
less ; the drugs should be stowed away in tin or wooden boxes, such as 
the natives of the country use, and when a phial is required it must be 
fitted into an etui of some kind. By this means, ground glass stoppers, 
and plentiful cotton stuffing, the most volatile essences may be carried 
about without great waste. After six months of the driest heat in 
Egypt and Arabia, not more than about one-fourth of my Prussic acid 
and chloroform had evaporated. And, thirdly, if you travel in the 
East, a few bottles of tincture of cantharides — highly useful as a rubefa- 
cient, excitant, et cetera — must never be omitted. 


afternoon. I inquired when the boat started, upon which 
he referred me, as I had spoken bad Italian, to the adver- 
tisement. I pleaded inability to read or write, whereupon 
he testily cried, " Alle nove ! alle nove !" — at nine ! at 
nine ! Still appearing uncertain, I drove him out of his 
chair, when he rose with a curse, and read 8 a. m. An 
unhappy Eastern, depending upon what he said, would 
have been precisely one hour too late. 

Thus were we lapsing into the real good old Indian 
style of doing business. Thus Indicus orders his first clerk 
to execute some commission ; the senior, having " work" 
upon his hands, sends a junior ; the junior finds the sun 
hot, and passes on the word to a " peon ;" the " peon" 
charges a porter with the errand, and the porter quietly 
sits or dozes in his place, trusting that fate will bring him 
out of the scrape, but firmly resolved, though the shattered 
globe fall, not to stir an inch. 

The reader, I must again express a hope, will pardon 
the egotism of these descriptions — my object is to show 
him how business is carried on in these hot countries, 
business generally. For had I, instead of being Abdullah 
the Dervish, been a rich native merchant, it would have 
been the same. How many complaints of similar treatment 
have I heard in different parts of the Eastern world ! and 
how little can one realise them without having actually 
experienced the evil ! For the future, I shall never see a 
« nigger" squatting away half a dozen mortal hours in a 
broiling sun, patiently waiting for something or for some 
one, without a lively remembrance of my own cooling of 
the calces at the custom-house of Alexandria. 

At length, about the end of May, all was ready. Not 
without a feeling of regret I left my little room among the 
white myrtle blossoms and the oleander flowers. I kissed, 
with humble ostentation, my kind host's hand, in presence 


of his servants, bade adieu to my patients, who now 
amounted to about fifty, shaking hands with all meekly and 
with religious equality of attention, and, mounted in a 
" trap" which looked like a cross between a wheelbarrow 
and a dog-cart, drawn by a kicking, jibbing, and biting 
mule, I set out for the steamer. 



In the days of the Pitts we have invariably a " Relation" 
of Egyptian travellers who embark for a place called 
" Roseet," on the " River Nilus." Wanderers of the Bru- 
cian age were wont to record their impressions of voyage 
upon land subjects observed between Alexandria and 
Cairo. A little later we find every one inditing rhapsodies 
about, and descriptions of, his or her dahabiyeh (barge) on 
the canal. After this came the steamer. And after the 
steamer will come the railroad, which may disappoint the 
author tourist, but will be delightful to that sensible class 
of men who wish to get over the greatest extent of ground 
with the least inconvenience to themselves and others. 
Then shall the Mahmudiyah — ugliest and most wearisome 
of canals — be given up to cotton boats and grain barges, 
and then will note-books and the headings of chapters 
ignore its existence. 

I saw the canal at its worst, when the water was low, 
and have not one syllable to say in its favor. Instead of 
thirty hours, we took three mortal days and nights to 
reach Cairo, and we grounded with painful regularity four 


or five times between sunrise and sunset. In the scenery 
on the banks sketchers and describers have left you nought 
to see. The Pyramids of Cheops and Cephren, " rearing 
their majestic heads above the margin of the desert," only 
suggest the remark that they have been remarkably well- 
sketched ; and thus you proceed till with a real feeling of 
satisfaction you moor alongside of the tumble-down old 
suburb Bulak. 

I had taken a third-class or deck passage, whereby the 
evils of the journey were exasperated". A roasting sun 
pierced the canvas awning like hot water through a gauze 
veil, and by night the cold dews fell raw and thick as a 
Scotch mist. The cooking was abominable, and the dignity 
of Dervish-hood did not allow me to sit at meat with 
infidels, or to eat the food they had polluted. So the Der- 
vish squatted apart, smoking perpetually, with occasional 
interruptions to say his prayers and to tell his beads upon 
the mighty rosary, and he drank the muddy water of the 
canal out of a leathern bucket, and he munched his bread 
and garlic* with a desperate sanctimoniousness. 

* Those skilled in simples, Eastern as well as "Western, praise garlic 
highly, declaring that it " strengthens the body, prepares the constitu- 
tion for fatigue, brightens the sight, and, by increasing the digestive 
power, obviates the ill effects arising from sudden change of air and 
water." The old Egyptians highly esteemed this vegetable, which, 
with onions and leeks, enters into the list of articles so much regretted 
by the Hebrews (Numbers, xi. 5 ; Koran, Chap. 2). The modern 
people of the Nile, like the Spaniards, delight in onions, which, as they 
contain between 25 and 30 per cent, of gluten, are highly nutritive. 
In Arabia, however, the stranger must use this vegetable sparingly. 
The city people despise it as the food of a fellah — a boor. The Wah- 
habis have a prejudice against onions, leeks, and garlic, because the 
Prophet disliked their strong smell, and all strict Moslems refuse to 
eat them immediately before visiting the mosque or meeting for public 


The "Little Asthmatic," as the steamer is called, was 
crowded, and discipline not daring to mark out particular 
places, the scene on board of her was a motley one. There 
were two Indian officers, who naturally spoke to none but 
each other, drank bad tea, and smoked their cigars like 
Britons. A troop of the Kurd Kawwas, escorting treasure, 
was surrounded by a group of noisy Greeks ; these men's 
gross practical jokes sounding anything but pleasant to the 
solemn Moslems, whose saddle-bags and furniture were at 
every moment in danger of being denied by abominable 
drinks and the ejected juices of tobacco. There was one 
pretty woman on board, a Spanish girl, who looked strangely 
misplaced — a rose in a field of thistles. Some silent Italians, 
with noisy interpreters, sat staidly upon the benches. It 
was soon found out, through the communicative dragoman, 
that their business was to buy horses for H. M. of Sardinia : 
they were exposed to a volley of questions delivered by a 
party of French tradesmen returning to Cairo, but they 
shielded themselves and fought shy with Machiavellian 
dexterity. Besides these was a German — a " beer-bottle in 
the morning and a bottle of beer in the evening," to bor- 
row a simile from his own nation — a Syrian merchant, the 
richest and ugliest of Alexandria, and a few French house- 
painters going to decorate the Pacha's palace at Shoobra. 
These last were the happiest of our voyagers, — veritable 
children of Paris, Montagnards, Voltairiens, and thorough- 
bred Sans-Soucis. All day they sat upon deck chattering 
as only their lively nation can chatter, indulging in ultra- 
gallic maxims, then singing, then dancing, then sleeping 
and rising to play, to drink, talk, dance, and sing again. 
They being new comers, free from the western morgue so 
soon caught by Oriental Europeans, were particularly 
civil to me, even wishing to mix me a strong draught ; but 
I was not so fortunate with all on board. A large shop- 


keeper threatened to " briser" my " figure" for putting my 
pipe near his " pantaloons ; but seeing me finger my dagger 
curiously, though I did not shift my pipe, he forgot to 
remember his threat. I had taken charge of a parcel for 

one M. P , a student of Coptic, and remitted it to him 

on board ; of this little service the only acknowledgment 
was a stare and a petulant inquiry why I had not given it 
to him before. And one of the Englishmen, half publicly, 
half privily, as though communing with himself, condemned 
my organs of vision because I happened to touch his elbow. 
He was a man in my own service ; I pardoned him in con- 
sideration of the compliment paid to my disguise. 

Two fellow-passengers were destined to play an impor- 
tant part in my comedy of Cairo. Just after we had started, 
a little event afforded us some amusement. On the bank 
appeared a short, fat, pursy kind of man, whose efforts to 
board the steamer were notably ridiculous. With attention 
divided between the vessel and a carpet bag carried by his 
donkey boy, he ran along the sides of the canal, now stum- 
bling into hollows, then climbing heights, then standing 
shouting upon the projections with the fierce sun upon his 
back, till every one thought his breath was completely gone. 
But no ! game to the backbone, he would have perished 
miserably rather than lose his fare : " perseverance," say 
the copy-books, " accomplishes great things :" at last he was 
taken on board, and presently he lay down to sleep. His 
sooty complexion, lank black hair, features in which appeared 
beaucoup de finesse^ that is to say, abundant rascality, an 
eternal smile and treacherous eyes, his gold* ring, dress of 
showy colors, fleshy stomach, fat legs, round back, and a 
peculiar manner of frowning and fawning simultaneously, 

* The stricter sort of Moslems, such as the Arabs, will not wear gold 
ornaments, which are forbidden by their law. 


marked him an Indian. When he awoke he introduced him- 
self to me as Miyan Khudabakhsh Namdar, a native of 
Lahore : he carried on the trade of a shawl merchant in 
London and Paris, where he lived two years, and after a 
pilgrimage intended to purge away the sins of civilized lands, 
had settled at Cairo. 

My second friend, Haji Wali, I will introduce to the 
reader in a future chapter. 

Long conversations in Persian and Hindostani, abridged 
the tediousness of the voyage, and when we arrived at Bulak, 
the polite Khudabakhsh insisted on my making his house my 
home. I was unwilling to accept the man's civility, disliking 
his looks, but he advanced cogent reasons for changing my 
mind. His servants cleared my luggage through the cus- 
tom-house, and a few minutes after our arrival I found my. 
self in his abode near the Ezbekiyah Gardens, sitting in 
a cool mashrabiyah * that gracefully projected over a 
garden, and sipping the favorite glass of pomegranate 

As the wakalahs or caravanserais were at that time full 
of pilgrims, I remained with Khudabakhsh ten days or a 
fortnight. But at the end of that time, my patience was 
thoroughly exhausted. My host had become a civilized 
man, who sat on chairs, ate with a fork, talked European 
politics, and had learned to admire, if not to understand 
liberty — liberal ideas ! and was I not flying from such things ? 
Besides which, we English have a peculiar national quality, 
which the Indians, with their characteristic acuteness, soon 
perceived, and described by an opprobrious name. Observ- 
ing our solitary habits, that we could not and would not, 

* The projecting latticed window, made of wood richly carved, for 
which Cairo was once so famous. But they are growing out of fashion 
with young Egypt, disappearing before glass and unsightly green blinds. 


sit and talk and sip sherbet and smoke with them, they 
called us " Jungli" — wild men, fresh caught in the jungle 
and sent to rule over the land of Hind.* Certainly nothing 
suits us less than perpetual society, an utter want of solitude, 
when one cannot retire into oneself an instant without being 
asked some puerile question by a friend, or look into a book 
without a servant peering over one's shoulder ; when from 
the hour you rise to the time you rest, you must ever be 
talking or listening, you must converse yourself to sleep in 
a public dormitory, and give ear to your companions' snores 
and mutterings at midnight.! 

The very essence of Oriental hospitality, however, is 
this family style of reception, which costs your host neither 
coin nor trouble. You make one more at his eating tray, 
and an additional mattress appears in the sleeping room. 
When you depart, you leave if you like a little present, 
merely for a memorial, with your entertainer ; he would be 
offended if you offered it him openly as a remuneration,! 
and you give some trifling sums to the servants. Thus you 
will be welcome wherever you go. If perchance you are 

* Caste in India arises from the peculiarly sociable nature of the 
native mind, for which reason " it is found existing among sects whose 
creeds are as different and as opposite as those of the Hindoo and the 
Christian." Hence, nothing can be more terrible to a man than expul- 
sion from caste ; the excommunication of our feudal times was not a more 
dreadful form of living death. 

f With us, every man's house is his castle. But caste divides a 
people into huge families, each member of which has a right to know 
every thing about his " caste-brother," because a whole body might be 
polluted and degraded by the act of an individual. Hence there is no 
such thing as domestic privacy, and no system of espionage devised by 
rulers could be so complete as that self-imposed by the Hindoos. 

\ I speak of the rare tracts in which the old barbarous hospitality 
still lingers. 


detained perforce in such a situation, — which may easily 
happen to you, medical man, — you have only to make your- 
self as disagreeable as possible, by calling for all manner of 
impossible things. Shame is a passion with Eastern nations. 
Your host would blush to point out to you the indecorum 
of your conduct; and the laws of hospitality oblige him 
to supply the every want of a guest, even though he be a 



The "wakalah," as the caravanserai or khan is called in 
Egypt, combines the offices of hotel, lodging house, and 
store. It is at Cairo, as at Constantinople, a massive pile 
of buildings surrounding a quadrangular " hosh " or court- 
yard. On the ground-floor are rooms like caverns for mer- 
chandise, and shops of different kinds — tailors, cobblers, 
bakers, tobacconists, fruiterers, and others. A roofless 
gallery or a covered verandah, into which all the apart- 
ments open, runs round the first and sometimes the second 
story: the latter, however, is usually exposed to the sun 
and wind. The accommodations consist of sets of two or 
three rooms, generally an inner one and an outer; this 
contains a hearth for cooking, a bathing place, and similar 
necessaries. The staircases are high, narrow, and exceed- 
ingly dirty, dark at night and often in bad repair ; a goat 
or dcnkey is tethered upon the different landings; here 
and there a fresh skin is stretched in process of tanning, 
and the smell reminds the veteran traveller of those closets 
in the old French inns where cats used to be prepared for 
playing the part of jugged hare. The interior is unfur- 


nished; oven the pegs upon which clothes are hung have 
been pulled down for firewood : the walls are bare but for 
stains, thick cobwebs depend in festoons from the black- 
ened rafters of the ceiling, and the stone floor would dis- 
grace a civilised prison: the windows are huge apertures 
carefully" barred with wood or iron, and in rare places 
show remains of glass or paper pasted over the frame- 
works. In the court-yard the poorer sort of travellers 
consort with tethered beasts of burden, beggars howl, 
and the slaves lie basking and scratching themselves 
upon mountainous heaps of cotton bales and other mer- 

This is not a tempting picture, yet is the wakalah a most 
amusing place, presenting a succession of scenes which would 
delight lovers of the Dutch school — a rich exemplification 
of the grotesque, and what is called by our artists the 
" dirty picturesque." 

I could find no room in the Wakalah Khan Khalil, (the 
Long's, or Meurice's, of native Cairo,) I was therefore 
obliged to put up with the Jemaliyah, the Greek quarter, 
a place swarming with drunken Christians, and therefore 
not altogether fashionable. Even for this I had to wait a 
week. The pilgrims were flocking to Cairo, and to none 
other would the prudent hotel keepers open their doors, 
for the following sufficient reasons. When you enter a wa- 
kalah the first thing you have to do is to pay a small sum, 
varying from two to five shillings, for the miftah (the key). 
This is generally equivalent to a month's rent, so the sooner 
you leave the house the better for it. I was obliged to call 
myself a Turkish pilgrim in order to get possession of two 
most comfortless rooms, which I afterwards learned were 
celebrated for making travellers ill, and I had to pay eight- 
een piastres for the key and eighteen ditto per mensem for 
rent, besides five piastres to the man who swept and washed 



the place. So that for this month my house hire amounted 
to nearly four pence a day. 

But I was fortunate enough in choosing the Jemaliyah 
Wakalah, for I found a friend there. On board the steamer 
a fellow voyager, seeing me sitting alone and therefore as 
he conceived in discomfort, placed himself by my side and 
opened a hot fire of kind inquiries. He was a man about 
forty-five, of middle size, with a large round head closely 
shaven, a bull-neck, limbs sturdy as a Saxon's, a thin red 
beard, and handsome features beaming with benevolence. 
A curious dry humor he had, delighting in "quizzing," 
but in so quiet, solemn, and quaint a way that before you 
knew him you could scarcely divine his drift. 

" Thank Allah we carry a doctor !" said my friend more 
than once, with apparent fervor of gratitude, after he had 
discovered my profession. I was fairly taken by the pious 
ejaculation, and some days elapsed before the drift of his 
remark became apparent. 

" You doctors," he explained, when we were more 
intimate, " what do you do ? a man goes to you for oph- 
thalmia. It is a purge, a blister, and a drop on the eye ! 
Is it for fever? well ! a purge and kinakina (quinine). For 
dysentery ? a purge and extract^ of opium. Wallah ! I am 
as good a physician as the best of you," he would add, 
with a broad grin, " if I only knew a few break-jaw Arabic 
names of diseases." 

Haji Wali therefore emphatically advised me to make 
bread by honestly teaching languages. " We are doctor- 
ridden," said he, and I found it was the case. 

When we lived under the same roof, the Haji and I 
became fast friends. During the day we called on each 
other frequently, we dined together, and passed the even- 
ing in a mosque, or some other place of public pastime. 
Coyly at first, but less guardedly as we grew bolder, we 


smoked the forbidden weed " hashish," * conversing length- 
ily the while about that world of which I had seen so 
much. Originally from Russia he also had been a tra- 
veller, and in his wanderings had cast off most of the pre- 
judices of his people. " I believe in Allah and his Pro- 
phet, and in nothing else," was his sturdy creed ; he 
rejected alchemy, genii, and magicians, and truly he had a 
most unoriental distaste for tales of wonder. When I 
entered the wakalah, he constituted himself my cicerone, 
and especially guarded me against the cheating of trades- 
men. By his advice I laid aside the dervish's gown, the 
large blue pantaloons, and the short shirt, in fact all con- 
nexion with Persia and the Persians. " If you persist in 
being an Ajemi," said the Haji, " you will get yourself 
into trouble ; in Egypt you will be cursed, in Arabia you 
will be beaten because you are a heretic, you will pay the 
treble of what other travellers do, and if you fall sick you 
may die by the roadside." After long deliberation about 
the choice of nations I became a Pathan.f Born in India, 

* By the Indians called Bhang, the Persians Bang, and the natives of 
Barbary, I believe, Fasukh. The Hottentots use it, and even the Sibe- 
rians, we are told, intoxicate themselves by the vapor of this seed 
thrown upon red-hot stones. Egypt surpasses all other nations in the 
variety of compounds into which this fascinating drug enters, and will 
one day probably supply the Western world with "Indian hemp," 
when its solid merits are duly appreciated. At present in Europe it is 
chiefly confined, as cognac and opium used to be, to the apothecary's 
shelves. Some adventurous individuals at Paris, after the perusal of 
" Monte Christo," attempted an " orgie" in one of the cafes, but with 
poor success. 

f The Indian name of an Afghan, supposed to be a corruption of the 
Arabic Fathan (a conqueror), or a derivation from the Hindostani 
paithna, to penetrate (into the hostile ranks). It is an honorable term 
in Arabia, where " Khurasani" (a native of Khorassan) leads men to 
suspect a Persian, and the other generic appellation of the Afghan 


of Afghan parents, who had settled in the country, edu- 
cated at Rangoon, and sent out to wander, as men of that 
race frequently are from early youth, I was well guarded 
against the danger of detection by a fellow countryman. 
To support the character requires a knowledge of Persian, 
Hindostani, and Arabic, all of which I knew sufficiently 
well to pass muster; any trifling inaccuracy was charged 
upon my long residence at Rangoon. This was an impor- 
tant step. The first question at the shop, on the camel, 
and in the mosque is, " What is thy name ?" the second, 
" Whence comest thou ?" This is not generally imperti- 
nent, or intended to be annoying ; if, however, you see any 
evil intention in the questioner, you may rather roughly 
ask him, "What may be his maternal parent's name" — equi- 
valent to inquiring, Anglic^ in what church his mother was 
married — and escape your difficulties undercover of a storm. 
But this is rarely necessary. I assumed the polite and pliant 
manners of an Indian physician, and the dress of a small Ef- 
fendi,* still, however, representing myself to be a Dervish, 
and frequenting the places where Dervishes congregate. 
" What business," asked the Haji, " have those reverend 
men with politics or statistics, or any of the information 
which you are collecting ? Call yourself a religious wan- 
derer if you like, and let those who ask the object of your 
peregrinations know that you are under a vow to visit all 
the holy places in Islam. Thus you will persuade them 
that you are a man of rank under a cloud, and you will 
receive much more civility than perhaps you deserve," con- 
cluded my friend, with a dry laugh. The remark proved 
his sagacity, and, after ample experience, I had not to 
repent having been guided by his advice. 

After lodging myself in the Wakalah, my first object 

* Gentleman. 


was to make a certain stir in the world. In Europe, your 
travelling doctor advertises the loss of a diamond ring, the 
gift of a Russian autocrat, or he monopolises a whole 
column in a newspaper, feeing perhaps a title for the use 
of a signature ; the large brass plate, the gold-headed cane, 
the rattling chariot, and the summons from the sermon, 
complete the work. Here there is no such royal road to 
medical fame. You must begin by sitting with the porter, 
who is sure to have blear eyes, into which you drop a little 
nitrate of silver, whilst you instil into his ear the pleasing 
intelligence that you never take a fee from the poor. He 
recovers ; his report of you spreads far and wide, crowding 
your doors with paupers. They come to you as though 
you were their servant, and when cured turn their backs 
upon you for ever. Hence it is that European doctors 
generally complain of ingratitude on the part of their 
Oriental patients. It is true that if you save a man's life 
he naturally asks you for the means of preserving it. 
Moreover, in none of the Eastern languages with which I 
am acquainted, is there a single term conveying the mean- 
ing of our " gratitude," and none but the Germans have 
ideas unexplainable by words. But you must not condemn 
this absence of a virtue without considering the cause. An 
Oriental deems that he has a right to your surplus. " Daily 
bread is divided" (by heaven) he asserts, and eating yours 
he considers it his own. Thus it is with other things. He 
is thankful to Allah for the gifts of the Creator, but he has 
a claim to the good offices of a fellow creature. In rendering 
him a service you have but done your duty, and he would 
not pay you so poor a compliment as to praise you for the 
act. He leaves you, his benefactor, with a short prayer for 
the length of your days. " Thank you," being expressed 
by " Allah increase thy weal !" or the selfish wish that 
your shadow (with which you protect him and his fellows) 


may never be less. And this is probably the last you hear 
of him. 

There is a discomfort in such proceedings, a reasonable, 
a metaphysical coldness, uglily contrasting in theory with 
the genial warmth which a little more heart would infuse 
into them. In theory, I say, not in practice. What can be 
more troublesome than, when you have obliged a man, to 
run the gauntlet of his and his family's thanksgivings. 
" To find yourself become a master from being a friend," 
a great man where you were an equal ; not to be contra- 
dicted, where shortly before every one gave his opinion 
freely. You must be unamiable if these considerations de- 
ter you from benefiting your friend, yet, I humbly opine, 
you still may fear his gratefulness. 

To resume. When the mob has raised you to fame, 
patients of a better class will slowly appear on the scene. 
After some coquetting about " etiquette," whether you are 
to visit them or they are to call upon you, they make up 
their minds to see you, and to judge with their eyes whether 
you are to be trusted or not ; whilst you, on your side, set 
out with the determination that they shall at once cross the 
Rubicon, — in less classical phrase, swallow your drug. If 
you visit the house, you insist on the patient's servants at- 
tending you ; he must also provide and pay for an ass for your 
conveyance, no matter if it be only to the other side of the 
street. Your confidential man accompanies you, primed for 
replies to the " fifty searching questions" of the " servants' 
hall." You are lifted off the saddle tenderly, as nurses dis- 
mount their charges, when you arrive at the gate, and you 
waddle up stairs with dignity. Arrived at the sick room, 
you salute those present with a general "peace be upon you!" 
to which they respond, "and upon you be the peace and 
the mercy of Allah, and his blessing!" To the invalid you 
say, " There is nothing the matter, please Allah, except the 


health ;" to which the proper answer — for here every sign 
of ceremony has its countersign — is, " may Allah give thee 
health!" You then sit down and acknowledge the presence 
of the company by raising your right hand to your lips and 
forehead, bowing the while circularly ; each individual re- 
turns the civility by a similar gesture. Then inquiry about 
the state of your health ensues. Then you are asked what 
refreshment you will take : you studiously mention some- 
thing not likely to be in the house, but at last you rough it 
with a pipe and a cup of coffee. Then you proceed to the 
patient, who extends his wrist, and asks you what his com- 
plaint is. Then you examine his tongue, you feel his pulse, 
you look learned, and — he is talking all the time — after 
hearing a detailed list of all his ailments, you gravely dis- 
cover them, taking for the same as much praise to yourself 
as does the practising phrenologist, for a similar simple ex- 
ercise of the reasoning faculties. The disease to be respect- 
able must invariably be connected with one of the four tem- 
peraments, or the four elements, or the " humors of Hip- 
pocrates." Cure is easy, but it will take time, and you, the 
doctor, require attention ; any little rudeness it is in your 
power to punish by an alteration in the pill, or the powder, 
and, so unknown is professional honor, that none will brave 
your displeasure. If you would pass for a native practi- 
tioner, you must then proceed to a most uncomfortable part 
of your visit, bargaining for fees. Nothing more effectually 
arouses suspicion than disinterestedness in a doctor. I 
once cured a rich Hazramaut merchant of rheumatism, and 
neglected to make him pay for treatment; he carried off 
one of my coffee cups, and was unceasingly wondering where 
I came from. So I made him produce five piastres, a shilling, 
which he threw upon the carpet, cursing Indian avarice. 
" You will bring on another illness," said my friend the Haji, 
when he heard of it. Properly speaking the fee for a visit to 


a respectable man is 20 piastres, but with the rich patient 
you begin by making a bargain. He complains, for instance, 
of dysentery and sciatica. You demand 107. for the dysen- 
tery, and 201. for the sciatica. But you will rarely get it, 
The Eastern pays a doctor's bill as an Irishman does his 
" rint," making a grievance of it. Your patient will show 
indisputable signs of convalescence : he will laugh and jest 
half the day ; but the moment you appear, groans and a 
lengthened visage, and pretended compaints welcome you. 
Then your way is to throw out some such hint as 

" The world is a carcass, and they who seek it are dogs." 

And you refuse to treat the second disorder, which conduct 
may bring the refractory one to his senses. " Dat Galenus 
opes," however, is a Western apothegm: the utmost "Jali- 
nus" can do for you here is to provide you with the neces- 
saries and the comforts of life. Whatever you prescribe 
must be solid and material, and if you accompany it with 
something painful, such as rubbing unto scarification with a 
horse brush, so much the better. Easterns, as our peasants 
in Europe, like the doctor to " give them the value of their 
money." Besides which, rough measures act beneficially 
upon their imagination. So the Hakim of the King of 
Persia cured fevers by the bastinado; patients are bene- 
ficially baked in a bread-oven at Bagdad ; and an Egyptian 
at Alexandria, whose quartan resisted the strongest appli- 
ances of European physic, was effectually healed by the 
actual cautery, which a certain Arab Shaykh applied to the 
crown of his head. When you administer with your own 
hand the remedy — half-a-dozen huge bread pills, dipped in 
a solution of aloes or cinnamon water, flavored with assa- 
fcetida, which in the case of the dyspeptic rich often suffice, 
if they will but diet themselves — you are careful to say, 


"In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful." 
And after the patient has been dosed, " Praise be to Allah, 
the curer, the healer ;" you then call for pen, ink, and paper, 
and write some such prescription as this : — 


" In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful, and 
blessings and peace be upon our Lord the Prophet, and his family, 
and his companions one and all ! But afterwards let him take bees- 
honey and cinnamon and album graecum, of each half a part, and of 
ginger a whole part, which let him pomid and mix with the honey, 
and form boluses, each bolus the weight of a miskal, and of it let 
him use every day a miskal on the saliva.f Verily its effects are 
wonderful. And let him abstain from flesh, fish, vegetables, sweet- 
meats, flatulent food, acids of all descriptions, as well as the major 
ablution, and life in perfect quiet. So shall he be cured by the help 
of the King the Healer. \ And the peace." § 

The diet, I need scarcely say, should be rigorous ; no- 
thing has tended more to bring the European system of 
medicine into contempt among orientals than our inatten- 
tion to this branch of the therapeutic art. When an Indian 
takes cathartic medicine, he prepares himself for it by diet 
and rest two or three days before its adhibition, and as 
gradually after the dose, he relapses into his usual habits ; 
if he break through the regime it is concluded that fatal 
results must ensue. The ancient Egyptians we learn from 
Herodotus devoted a certain number of days in each month 

* A monogram generally placed at the head of writings. It is the 
initial letter of " Allah," and the first of the alphabet, used from time 
immemorial to denote the origin of creation. " I am Alpha and Omega, 
the first and the last." 

f " AT ar-rik," that is to say, fasting — the first thing in the morning. 

% The Almighty. § Was'-salam, i. e. adieu. 



to the use of alteratives, and the period was consecutive, 
doubtless in order to graduate the strength of the medicine. 
The Persians, when under salivation, shut themselves up in 
a warm room, never undress, and so carefully guard against 
cold that they even drink tepid water. When the Afghan 
princes find it necessary to employ Chob-Chini, (the Jin- 
seng, or China root so celebrated as a purifier, tonic, and 
aphrodisiac) they choose the spring season; they remove 
to a garden, where flowers and trees and bubbling streams 
soothe their senses; they carefully avoid fatigue and trouble 
of all kinds, and will not even hear a letter read, lest it 
should contain bad news. 

When the prescription is written out, you affix an im- 
pression of your ring seal to the beginning and the end of 
it, that no one may be able to add to or to take from its 
contents. And when you send medicine to a patient of 
rank, who is sure to have enemies, you adopt some similar 
precaution against the box or the bottle being opened. 
One of the Pashas whom I attended — a brave soldier, who 
had been a favorite with Mohammed Ali, and therefore 
was degraded by his successor — kept an impression of my 
ring in wax, to compare with that upon the phials. Men 
have not forgotten how frequently, in former times, those 
who became obnoxious to the state were seized with 
sudden and fatal cramps in the stomach. In the case of 
the doctor it is common prudence to adopt these precau- 
tions, as all evil consequences would be charged upon him, 
and he would be exposed to the family's revenge. 

Cairo, though abounding in medical practitioners, can 
still support more ; but they must be Indians, or Chinese, 
or Maghrabis to thrive. The Egyptians are thoroughly 
disgusted with European treatment, which is here about as 
efficacious as in India — that is to say, not at all. But they 
are ignorant of the medicine of Hind, and therefore great 


is its name ; deservedly perhaps, for skill in simples and 
dietetics. Besides which the Indian may deal in charms 
and spells — things to which the latitude gives such force 
that even Europeans learn to put faith in them. The tra- 
veller who, on the banks of the Seine, scoffs at Sights and 
Sounds, Table-turning and Spirit-rapping, in the wilds of 
Tartary and Thibet sees a something supernatural and dia- 
bolical in the bungling Sie-fa of the JBokte* Some sensible 
men, who pass for philosophers among their friends, have 
been caught by the incantations of the turbaned and 
bearded Cairo magician. In our West African colonies 
the phrase " growing black," was applied to colonists, who, 
after a term of residence, became thoroughly imbued with 
the superstitions of the land. And there are not wanting 
old English Indians, intelligent men, that place firm trust 
in tales and tenets too puerile even for the Hindus to 
believe. As "Hindi" I could use animal magnetism, 
taking care, however, to give the science a specious super- 
natural appearance. Haji Wali, who, professing positive 
scepticism, showed the greatest interest in the subject, as a 
curiosity, advised me not to practise pure mesmerism; 
otherwise, that I should infallibly become a " Companion 
of Devils." "You must call this an Indian secret," said 
my friend, " for it is clear that you are no Mashaikh,f and 

* Certain Lamas who, we learn from M. Hue, perform famous Sie-fa, 
or supernaturalisms, such as cutting open the abdomen, licking red-hot 
irons, making incisions in various parts of the body, which an instant 
afterwards leave no trace behind, <fcc, <fec. The devil may " have a 
great deal to do with the matter," in Tartary, for all I know ; but I can 
assure M. Hue, that the Rufia Dervishes in India and the Saadiyah at 
Cairo perform exactly the same feats. Their jugglery, seen through 
the smoke of incense, and amidst the enthusiasm of a crowd, is tole- 
rably dexterous, and no more. 

f A holy man. 


people will ask where are your drugs, and what business 
have you with charms ?" It is useless to say that I fol- 
lowed his counsel ; yet patients would consider themselves 
my Murids, and delighted in kissing the hand of the minor 

The Haji repaid me for my docility by vaunting me 
everywhere as the very phoenix of physicians. My first 
successes were in the Wakalah. Opposite to me there 
lived an Arab slave dealer, whose Abyssinians constantly 
fell sick. A tender race, they suffer when first transported 
to Egypt from many complaints, especially consumption, 
dysentery, and varicose veins. I succeeded in curing one 
girl. As she was worth at least fifteen pounds, the gra- 
titude of her owner was great, and I had to dose half a 
dozen others, in order to cure them of the pernicious and 
price-lowering habit of snoring. Living in rooms opposite 
these slave girls, and seeing them at all hours of the day 
and night, I had frequent opportunities of studying them. 
They were average specimens of the steatopygous Abys- 
sinian breed, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked, fine-limbed, 
and with haunches of a prodigious size. None of them had 
handsome features, but the short curly hair that stands on 
end being concealed under a kerchief, there was something 
pretty in the brow, eyes, and upper part of the nose, coarse 
and sensual in the pendent lips, large jowl, and projecting 
mouth, whilst the whole had a combination of piquancy 
with sweetness. Their style of flirtation was peculiar. 

" How beautiful thou art, O Maryam ! — what eyes ! — 

" Then why," would respond the lady, " don't you buy 

" We are of one faith — of one creed — formed to form 
each other's happiness." 

" Then why don't you buy me ?" 


" Conceive, O Maryam, the blessing of two hearts — " 

" Then why don't you buy me ?" 
And so on. Most effectual gag to Cupid's eloquence ! 
Yet was not the plain-spoken Maryam's reply without its 
moral. How often is it our fate in the West, as in the 
East, to see in bright eyes, and to hear from rosy lips, an 
implied, if not an expressed, " Why don't you buy me ?" 
or, worse still, " Why can't you buy me ?" 

All I required iu return for my services from the slave- 
dealer, whose brutal countenance and manners were truly 
repugnant, was to take me about the town, and explain to 
me certain mysteries in his craft, which knowledge might 
be useful in time to come. Little did he suspect who his 
interrogator was, and freely in his unsuspiciousness he 
entered upon the subject of slave hunting in the Somali 
country and Zanzibar, of all things the most interesting to 
me. I have nothing new to report concerning the present 
state of bondsmen in Egypt. England has already learned 
that slaves are not necessarily the most wretched and 
degraded of men. Some have been bold enough to tell 
the British public, that, in the generality of Oriental 
countries,* the serf fares far better than the servant, or 
indeed than the poorer orders of freemen. " The laws of 
Mahomet enjoin his followers to treat slaves with the 
greatest mildness, and the Moslems are in general scrupu- 

* In the generality, not in all. Nothing, for instance, can be more 
disgraceful to human nature than the state of prcedial slavery, or serfs 
attached to the glebe, when Malabar was under the dominion of the 
" mild Hindu." And as a rule in the East, it is only the domestic 
slaves who taste the sweets of slavery. Yet there is truth in Sonnini's 
terrible remark : "The severe treatment under which the slaves lan- 
guish in the West Indies is the shameful prerogative of civilization, and 
is unknown to those nations among whom barbarism is reported to hold 


lous observers of the Prophet's recommendation. Slaves 
are considered members of the family, and in houses where 
free servants are kept besides, they seldom do any other 
work than filling the pipes, presenting the coffee, accompa- 
nying their master when going out, rubbing his feet when 
he takes his nap in the afternoon, and driving away the 
flies from him. When a slave is not satisfied he can legally 
compel his master to sell him. He has no care for food, 
lodging, clothes, and washing, and has no taxes to pay ; he 
is exempt from military service and soccage, and in spite 
of his bondage is freer than the freest Fellah in Egypt." * 
This is, I believe, a true statement, but of course it in 
nowise affects the question of slavery in the abstract. 

A certain amount of reputation was the consequence of 
curing the Abyssinian girls : my friend Haji Wali carefully 
told the news to all the town, and before fifteen days were 
over I found myself obliged to decline extending a practice 
which threatened me with fame. 

Servants are most troublesome things to all Englishmen 
in Egypt, but especially to one travelling as a respectable 
native, and therefore expected to have slaves. After much 
deliberation I resolved to take a Berberi and accordingly 
summoned a Shaykh — there is a Shaykh for every thing down 
to thieves in Asia — and made known my want. The list 
of sine qua nons was necessarily rather an extensive one, — 
good health and a readiness to travel anywhere, a little skill 
in cooking, sewing and washing, willingness to fight, and a 

* The author has forgotten to mention one of the principal advan- 
tages of slaves, namely, the prospect of arriving at the highest rank of 
the empire. The Pacha of the Syrian caravan with which I travelled 
to Damascus had heen the slave of a slave, and he is but a solitary 
instance of cases perpetually occurring in all Moslem lands. " C'est un 
homme de bonne famille" said a Turkish officer in Egypt, " il a ete 


habit of regular prayers. After a day's delay the Shaykh 
brought me a specimen of his choosing, a broad-shouldered, 
bandy-legged fellow, with the usual bull-dog expression 
of the Berberis, in his case rendered still more expressive 
by the drooping of an eyelid — an accident brought about 
with acrid juice in order to avoid conscription. He re- 
sponded sturdily to all my questions. Some Egyptian 
donkey boys and men were making a noise in the room at 
the time, and the calm ferocity with which he ejected them 
commanded my approval. When a needle, thread, and an 
unhemmed napkin were handed to him, he sat down, held 
the edge of the cloth between his big toe and its neighbor, 
and finished the work in quite a superior style. Walking 
out he armed himself with a Kurbaj, which he used, now 
lightly, then heavily, upon all laden animals, biped and 
quadruped, that came in the way. His conduct proving 
equally satisfactory in the kitchen, after getting security 
from him, and having his name registered by the Shaykh, I 
closed with him for eighty piastres a month. But Ali the 
Berberi and I were destined to part. Before a fortnight he 
stabbed his fellow servant — a Surat lad, who wishing to re- 
turn home forced his services upon me, and for this trick he 
received with his dismissal, 400 blows on the feet by order 
of the Zabit, or police magistrate. After this I tried a 
number of servants, Egyptians, Saidi, and clean and unclean 
eating Berberis. Recommended by different Shaykhs all 
had some fatal defect — one cheated recklessly, another rob- 
bed me, a third drank, a fourth was always in scrapes for 
infringing the Julian edict, and the last, a long-legged 
Nubian, after remaining two days in the house, dismissed 
me for expressing a determination to travel by sea from 
Suez to Yambu. I kept one man ; he complained that he 
was worked to death : two — they did nothing but fight ; 
and three — they 'eft me, as Mr. Elwes said of old, to serve 


myself. At last thoroughly tired of Egyptian domestics, 
and one servant being really sufficient for comfort, as well as 
suitable to my assumed rank, I determined to keep only the 
Indian boy. He had all the defects of his nation ; a brave 
at Cairo, he was an arrant coward at el Medinah : the 
Bedouins despised him heartily for his effeminacy in making 
his camel kneel to dismount, and he could not keep his 
hands from picking and stealing. But the choice had its 
advantages : his swarthy skin and chubby features made the 
Arabs always call him an Abyssinian slave, which, as it 
favored my disguise, I did not care to contradict ; he 
served well, was amenable to discipline, and, being complete- 
ly dependent upon me, was therefore less likely to watch and 
especially to prate about my proceedings. As master and 
man we performed the pilgrimage together ; but, on my 
return to Egypt after the pilgrimage, Shaykh ISTur, finding 
me to be a Sahib,* changed for the worse. He would not 
work, and reserved all his energy for the purpose of pilfer- 
ing, which he practised so audaciously upon my friends, as 
well as upon myself, that he could not be kept in the 

Perhaps the reader may be curious to see the necessary 
expenses of a bachelor residing at Cairo. He must observe, 
however, in the following list that I was not a strict econo- 
mist, and, besides that, I was a stranger in the country : 
inhabitants and old settlers would live as well for little 
more than two-thirds the sum. 

Piastres. Foddthah. 

House rent at 18 piastres per mensem .0 24 

Servant at 80 piastres per do. .2 26 

* The generic name given by Indians to English officials. 



Breakfast for 
self and ser- 





'10 eggs 





Water melon . 


Two rolls of bread 


' 2 lbs. of meat . 



Two rolls of bread 


■ Vegetables 




t Oil and clarified butt< 

ar . 1 

f A skin of Nile water 

•J Tobacco* 


[ Hommam, (hot bath) 



Total . 13 30 

Equal to about two shillings and ninepence. 

* There are four kinds of tobacco smoked in Egypt. 

The first and best is the well-known Latakia, generally called " Jebe- 
li," either from a small seaport town about three hours' journey south 
of Latakia, or more probably because grown on the hills near the 
ancient Laodicea. Pure, it is known by its blackish color, fine shred- 
ding, absence of stalk, and an undescribable odor, to me resembling 
that of creosote ; the leaf, too, is small, so that when made into cigars 
it must be covered over with a slip of the yellow Turkish tobacco 
called Bafrah. Except at the highest houses unadulterated Latakia is 
not to be had in Cairo. Yet, mixed as it is, no other growth exceeds it 
in flavor and fragrance. Miss Martineau smoked it, we are told, with- 
out inconvenience, and it differs from our Shag, Bird's-eye, and Returns 
in degree, as does Chateau Margaux from a bottle of cheap strong Spa- 
nish wine. To bring out its flavor, the connoisseur smokes it in long 
pipes of cherry, jasmine, maple, or rosewood, and these require a ser- 
vant skilled in the arts of cleaning and filling them. The best Jebeli at 
Cairo costs about seven piastres the pound ; after which a small sum 
must be paid to the Farram, or chopper, who prepares it for use. 

2nd. Suri (Syrian), or Shami, or Suryani, grown in Syria, an inferior 
growth, of a lighter color than Latakia, and with a greenish tinge; 
when cut, its value is about three piastres per pound. Some smokers 
mix this leaf with Jebeli, which, to my taste, spoils the flavor of the 


In these days who at Cairo without a Shaykh? I 
thought it right to conform to popular custom, and accord- 
ingly, after having secured a servant, my efforts were 
directed to finding a teacher — the pretext being that as an 
Indian doctor I wanted to read Arabic works on medicine, 
as well as to perfect myself in divinity and pronunciation.! 

latter without improving the former. The strongest kind, called 
Korani or Jebayl, is generally used for cigarettes ; it costs, when of first 
rate quality, about five piastres per pound. 

3rd. Tumbak, or Persian tobacco, called Hejazi, because imported 
from the Hejaz, where everybody smokes it, and supposed to come from 
Shiraz, Kazerun, and other celebrated places in Persia. It is all but 
impossible to buy this article unadulterated, except from the caravans 
returning after the pilgrimage. The Egyptians mix it with native 
growths, which ruins its flavor, and gives it an acridity that " catches 
the throat," whereas good tumbak never yet made a man cough. Yet 
the taste of this tobacco, even when second-rate, is so fascinating to 
some smokers that they will use no other. To be used it should be 
wetted and squeezed, and it is invariably inhaled through water into 
the lungs: almost every town has its favorite description of pipe, and 
these are of all kinds, from the pauper's rough cocoa-nut mounted with 
two reeds, to the prince's golden bowl set with the finest stones. Tum- 
bak is cheap, costing about four piastres a pound, but large quantities 
of it are used. 

4th. Hummi, as the word signifies, a " hot" variety of the tumbak 
grown in Yemen and other countries. It is placed in the tile on the 
Buri or cocoa-nut pipe, unwetted, and has a very acrid flavor. Being 
supposed to produce intoxication, or rather a swimming in the head, 
hummi gives its votaries a bad name : respectable men would answer 
" no" with rage if asked whether they are smoking it, and when a fel- 
low tells you that he has seen better days, but that now he smokes 
hummi in a Buri, you understand him that his misfortunes have affected 
either his brain or his morality. Hence it is that this tobacco is never 
put into pipes intended for smoking the other kinds. The price of 
hummi is about five piastres per pound. 

f A study essential to the learned, as in some particular portions of 
the Koran, a mispronunciation becomes a sin. 


My theological studies were in the Shafei school for two 
reasons : in the first place, it is the least rigorous one of the 
four orthodox, and secondly, it most resembles the Shiah 
heresy, with which long intercourse with Persians had 
made me familiar. My choice of doctrine, however, con- 
firmed those around me in their conviction that I was a 
rank heretic, for the Ajemi, taught by his religion to con- 
ceal offensive tenets, in lands where the open profession 
would be dangerous, always represents himself to be a 
Shafei. This, together with the original mistake of appear- 
ing publicly at Alexandria as a Mirza in a Persian dress, 
caused me infinite small anuoyance at Cairo, in spite of all 
precautions and contrivances. And throughout my journey, 
even in Arabia, though I drew my knife every time an 
offensive hint was thrown out, the ill-fame clung to me like 
the shirt of Nessus. 

It was not long before I happened to hit upon a proper 
teacher, in the person of Shaykh Mohammed el Attar, or 
the druggist. He had known prosperity, having once been 
a Khatib (preacher) in one of Mohammed Ali's mosques. 
But his Highness the late Pasha had dismissed him, which 
disastrous event, with its subsequent train of misfortunes, he 
dates from the melancholy day when he took to himself a 
wife. He talks of her abroad as a stern and rigid master 
dealing with a naughty slave, though, by the look that 
accompanies his rhodomontade, I am convinced that at 
home he is the very model of " managed men." His dis- 
missal was the reason that compelled him to fall back upon 
the trade of a druggist, the refuge for the once wealthy, 
though now destitute, sages of Egypt. 

His little shop in the Jemeliyah Quarter is a perfect gem 
of Nilotic queerness. A hole pierced in the wall of some 
house, about five feet long and six deep, it is divided into 
two compartments separated by a thin partition of wood, 


and communicating by a kind of arch cut in the boards. 
The inner box, germ of a back parlor, acts store-house, as 
the pile of empty old baskets tossed in dusty confusion upon 
the dirty floor shows. In the front is displayed the stock 
in trade, a matting full of Persian tobacco and pipe bowls 
of red clay, a palm-leaf bag containing vile coffee and large 
lumps of coarse whity-brown sugar, wrapped up in browner 
paper. On the shelves and ledges are rows of well-thumbed 
wooden boxes, labelled with the greatest carelessness, pep- 
per for rhubarb, arsenic for tail, or wash-clay, and sulphate of 
iron where sal ammoniac should be. There is also a square 
case containing under lock and key, small change, and 
some choice articles of commerce, damaged perfumes, bad 
antimony for the eyes, and pernicious rouge. And dangling 
close above it is a rusty pair of scales, ill poised enough for 
Egyptian justice herself to use. To hooks over the shop- 
front are suspended reeds for pipes, tallow candles, dirty wax 
tapers, and cigarette paper ; instead of plate-glass windows 
and brass-handled doors, a ragged net keeps away the flies 
when the master is in, and the thieves when he goes out to 
recite in the Hasanayn mosque his daily "Ya Sin."* A 
wooden shutter which closes down at night-time, and by 
day two palm-stick stools intensely dirty and full of fleas, 
occupying the place of the Mastabah,f which accommodated 
the purchasers, complete the furniture of my preceptor's 

* One of the most esteemed chapters of the Koran, frequently recited 
as a Wazifah or daily task by religious Moslems in Egypt. 

f The Mastabah here is a long earthen bench plastered over with 
clay, and raised about two feet from the ground, so as to bring the pur- 
chaser's head to a level with the shop. Mahommed Ali ordered the 
people to remove them, as they narrowed the streets : their place is now 
supplied by " Kafas," cages or stools of wicker-work. 


There he sits or rather lies (for verily, I believe he 
sleeps through three-fourths of the day), a thin old man 
about fifty-eight, with features once handsome and regular, 
a sallow face, shaven head, deeply wrinkled cheeks, eyes 
hopelessly bleared, and a rough grey beard ignorant of oil 
and comb. His turban, though large, is brown with wear, 
his coat and small-clothes display many a hole, and though 
his face and hands must be frequently washed preparatory 
to devotion, still they have the quality of always looking 
unclean. It is wonderful how fierce and gruff he is to little 
boys and girls who flock to him grasping farthings for pep- 
per and sugar. On such occasions I sit admiring to see him, 
when forced to exertion, wheel about on his place, making 
a pivot of that portion of our organization which mainly 
distinguishes our species from the other families of the 
Simiada3, to reach some distant drawer, or to pull down a 
case from its accustomed shelf. How does he manage to 
say his prayers, to kneel and prostrate himself upon that 
two feet of ragged rug, scarcely sufficient for a British in- 
fant to lie upon ? He hopelessly owns that he knows no- 
thing of his craft, and the seats before his shop are seldom 
occupied. His great pleasure appears to be when the Haji 
and I sit by him a few minutes in the evening, bringing 
with us pipes, which he assists us to smoke, and ordering 
coffee, which he insists upon sweetening with a lump of sugar 
from his little store. There we make him talk and laugh, 
and occasionally quote a few lines strongly savoring of the 
jovial : we provoke him to long stories about the love borne 
him in his student days by the great and holy Shaykh Abdul 
Rahman, and the antipathy with which he was regarded by 
the equally great and holy Shaykh ISTasr el Din, his memo- 
rable single imprisonment for contumacy, and the temperate 
but effective lecture, beginning with "O almost entirely 
destitute of shame!" delivered on that occasion in presence 


of other under-graduates by the Right Reverend principal 
of his college. Then we consult him upon matters of doc- 
trine, and quiz him tenderly about his powers of dormition, 
and natter him, or rather his age, with such phrases as, " the 
water from thy hand is of the waters of Zemzem," " we have 
sought you to deserve the blessings of the wise upon our 
undertakings." Sometimes, with interested motives it must 
be owned, we induce him to accompany us to the Ham- 
mam,* where he insists upon paying the smallest sum, quar- 
relling with every thing and every body, and giving the 
greatest trouble. We are generally his only visitors ; ac- 
quaintances he appears to have few, and no friends ; he 
must have had them once for he was rich, not so now, so 
they have fallen away from the poor old man. 

When the Shaykh Mohammed sits with me or I climb 
up into his little shop for the purpose of receiving a lesson 
from him, he is quite at his ease, reading when he likes, or 
making me read, and generally beginning each lecture 
with some such preamble as this : — 

" Aywa ! aywa ! aywa /"f even so, even so, even so ! 
" we take refuge with Allah from the stoned fiend ! In 
the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful, and 
the blessings of Allah upon our lord Mahommed, and his 

* The Hammam, or hot bath, being a kind of religious establishment, 
is one of the class of things — so uncomfortably numerous in Eastern 
countries — left ala jud'ak, " to thy generosity." Consequently you are 
pretty sure to have something disagreeable there, which you would 
vainly attempt to avoid by liberality. The best way to deal with all 
such extortioners, with the Lawingi (undresser) of a Cairo Hammam, or 
the " jarvey" of aLondon Hansom, is to find out the fare, and never to go 
beyond it — never to be generous. 

f This word is often used to signify simply " yes." It is corrupted 
from A' w'allah, "yes, by Allah." In pure Arabic "ay" or "I" is 
synonymous with our " yes" or " ay;" and " Allah" in these countries 
enters somehow into every other phrase. 


family, and his companions one and all! Thus saith the 
author, may Almighty Allah have mercy upon him ! 4 Sec- 
tion I, of chapter two, upon the orders of prayer,' " &c. 

He becomes fiercely sarcastic when I differ with him in 
opinion, especially upon a point of the grammar, or the theo- 
logy over which his beard has grown grey. 

" Subhan Allah ! Allah be glorified !* What words are 
these ? If thou be right, enlarge thy turban, f and throw 
away thy drugs, for verily it is better to quicken men's 
souls than to destroy their bodies, O Abdullah !" 

Oriental like, he revels in giving good counsel. 

" Thou art always writing, O my brave !" (this is said 
on the few occasions when I venture to make a note in my 
book), " what evil habit is this? Surely thou hast learned 
it in the lands of the Frank. Repent !" 

He loathes my giving medical advice gratis. 

" Thou hast two servants to feed, O my son ! The doc- 
tors of Egypt never write A, B, without a reward. Where- 
fore art thou ashamed ? Better go and sit upon the 
mountains at once, and say thy prayers day and night !" 

And finally he is prodigal of preaching upon the subject 
of household expenses. 

" Thy servant did write down 2 lbs. of flesh yesterday ! 
What words are those, O he ? Dost thou never say, 
4 Guard us, Allah, from the sin of extravagance ?' " 

He delights also in abruptly interrupting a serious 
subject when it begins to weigh upon his spirits. For 

* This is, of course, ironical : " Allah be praised for creating such a 
prodigy of learning as thou art !" 

f The larger the turban, the greater are the individual's preten- 
sions to religious knowledge and respectability of demeanor. This is 
the custom in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, and many other parts of the Mos- 
lem world. 


" Now, the waters of ablution being of seven different 

kinds, it results that hast thou a wife ? No ? Then, 

verily, thou must buy thee a female slave, O youth ! This 
conduct is not right, and men will say of thee Repent- 
ance * I take refuge with Allah* l of a truth his mouth 

watereth for the spouses of other Moslems.' " 

But sometimes he nods over a difficult passage under 
my very eyes, or he reads it over a dozen times in the 
wantonness of idleness, or he takes what school-boys call a 
long " shot" most shamelessly at the signification. When 
this happens I lose my temper, and raise my voice, and 
shout, " Verily there is no power nor might save in Allah, 
the High, the Great !" Then he looks at me, and with 
passing meekness whispers — 

" Fear Allah, man !" 

* Religious formula used when compelled to mention anything abo- 
minable or polluting to the lips of a pious man. 



The Arab mosque is an unconscious revival of the forms 
used from the earliest ages to denote by symbolism the 
worship of the generative and the creative gods. The 
reader will excuse me if I only glance at a subject of which 
the investigation would require a volume, and which, dis- 
cussed at greater length, would be out of place in such a 
narrative as this. 

The first mosque in El-Islam was erected by Mohammed 
Kuba at El Medinah ; shortly afterwards, when he entered 
Meccah as a conqueror, he destroyed the idols of the Arab 
pantheon, and purified that venerable building of its abomi- 
nations. He had probably observed in Syria the two forms 
appropriated by the Christians to their places of worship, 
the cross and the Basilica ; he therefore preferred a square 
to a parallelogram, some authors say with, others, without 
a cloister, for the prayers of the " saving faith." At length 
in the reign of El Walid (about a. h. 90) the cupola, the 
niche, and the minaret made their appearance, and what is 
called the Saracenic style became the order of the Moslem 



From time immemorial, in hot and rainy lands, a hypae- 
thral court surrounded by a covered portico, either circular 
or square, was used for the double purpose of church and 
mart, — a place where God and Mammon were worshipped 
turn by turn. In some places we find rings of stones, like 
the Persian Pyroetheia, in others, round concave buildings 
representing the vault of heaven, where fire, the divine 
symbol, was worshipped, and in Arabia, columnal aisles, 
which, surmounted by the splendid blue vault, resemble the 
palm-grove. The Greeks adopted this area in the fanes of 
Creator Bacchus ; and at Puzzuoli, near Naples, it may be 
seen in the building vulgarly called the Temple of Serapis. 
It was equally well known to the Celts ; in some places the 
Temenos was circular, in others a quadrangle. And such 
to the present day is the mosque of El-Islam. 

Even the Riwak or porches surrounding the area in the 
mosque, are a revival of older forms. " The range of square 
building which enclose the temple of Serapis are not, pro- 
perly speaking, parts of the fane, but apartments of the 
priests, places for victims, and sacred utensils, and chapels 
dedicated to subordinate deities, introduced by a more 
complicated and corrupt worship, and probably unknown 
to the founders of the original edifice." The cloisters in the 
mosque became cells, used as lecture rooms, and libraries 
for books bequeathed to the college. They are unequal, 
because some are required to be of larger, others to be of 
smaller dimensions. The same reason causes difference of size 
when the distribution of the building is into four hyposteles 
which open upon the area ; that in the direction of the 
Kaabah, where worshippers mostly congregate, demanding 
greater depth than the other three. The wings were not 
unfrequently made unequal, either from want of building 
materials, or because the same extent of accommodation 
was not required in both. The columns were of different 


substances ; some of handsome marble, others of rough 
stone meanly plastered over with dissimilar capitals, vul- 
garly cut shafts of various sizes, here with a pediment, there 
without — now turned upside down, now joined together by 
halves in the centre, and almost invariably nescient of inter- 
columnar rule. This is the result of Byzantine syncretism, 
carelessly and ignorantly grafted upon Arab ideas of the 
natural and the sublime. Loving and admiring the great, 
or rather the huge in plan, they care little for the execution 
of mere details, and they have not the acumen to discern 
the effect which clumsy workmanship, crooked lines, and 
visible joints — parts apparently insignificant — exercise upon 
the whole of an edifice. Their use of colors was a false 
taste, commonly displayed by mankind in their religious 
houses, and statues of the gods. The Hindus paint their 
pagodas inside and outside, and rub vermilion, in token of 
honor, over their deities. The Persian Colossi of Kaiomars 
and his consort on the Balkh road, and the Sphynx of 
Egypt, as well as the temples of the Nile, still show traces 
of artificial complexion. The fanes in classic Greece, where 
we might expect a purer taste, have been dyed. In the 
Forum Romanum, one of the finest buildings still bears 
stains of the Tyrian purple. And to mention no other 
instances in the churches and belfries of Modern Italy, we 
see alternate bands of white and black material so disposed 
as to give them the appearance of giant zebras. The origin 
of " Arabesque" must be referred to one of the principles of 
El-Islam. The Moslem, forbidden by his law to decorate 
his mosque with statuary and pictures,* supplied their 

* That is to say, imitations of the human form. All the doctors of 
El-Islam, however, differ on this head ; some absolutely forbidding any 
delineation of what has life, under the pain of being cast into hell ; 
others permitting pictures even of the bodies, though not of the faces 


place with quotations from the Koran, and inscriptions, 
" plastic metaphysics," of marvellous perplexity. His alpha- 
bet lent itself to the purpose, and hence probably arose that 
almost inconceivable variety of lacelike fretwork of incrus- 
tations, arabesques, and geometric flowers, in which his 
eye delights to lose itself. 

The Meccan mosque became a model to the world of El- 
Islam, and the nations that embraced the new faith copied 
the consecrated building, as religiously as Christendom pro- 
duced imitations of the Holy Sepulchre.* The mosque of 
Omar at Jerusalem, of Amr at Babylon on the Nile, and 
Taylun at Cairo, were erected with some trifling improve- 
ments, such as the arched cloisters and inscribed cornices, 
upon the plan of the Kaabah. From Egypt and Palestine 
the ichnography spread far and wide. It was modified, as 
might be expected, by national taste. What in Arabia was 
simple and elegant, became highly ornate in Spain, florid in 
Turkey, and effeminate in India. Still divergence of detail 
had not, even after the lapse of twelve centuries, materially 
altered the fundamental form. 

Perhaps no Eastern city affords more numerous or more 
accessible specimens of mosque architecture than Cairo. 
Between 300 and 400 places of worship, some stately piles, 
others ruinous hovels, many new, more decaying and earth- 
quake shaken, with minarets that rival in obliquity the 

of men. Other nations are comparatively lax. The Alhambra abounds 
in paintings and frescoes. The Persians never object to depict in books 
and on walls the battles of Rustam, and the Turks preserve in the 
Seraglio treasury of Constantinople portraits, by Greek and other 
artists, of their Sultans in regular succession. 

* At Bruges, Bologna (St. Stefano), and Nuremberg, there are imi- 
tations of the Holy Sepulchre. The Nuremberg church was built by a 
merchant, who travelled three times to Palestine in order to ensure cor- 
rectness, and totally failed. 


Pisan monster, are open to the traveller's inspection. And 
Europeans by following the advice of their hotel-keeper, 
have penetrated, and can penetrate into any one they 

The Jama Taylun is simple and massive, yet elegant, 
and in some of its details peculiar. One of the four colon- 
nades still remains to show the original magnificence of the 
building ; the other porches are walled in, and inhabited by 

In the centre of a quadrangle about one hundred paces 
square is a domed building springing from a square which 
occupies the proper place of the Kaabah. This " Jama f " is 
interesting as a point of comparison. If it be an exact copy 
of the Meccan temple, as it stood in a. d. 879, it shows 
that the latter has greatly altered in this our modern 

Next in date to the Taylun Mosque is that of the Sultan 
El Hakim, third Caliph of the Fatimites. The minarets are 
remarkable in shape, as well as size : they are unprovided 
with the usual outer gallery, are based upon a cube of 
masonry, and pierced above with apertures apparently 
meaningless. A learned Cairene informed me that these 
spires were devised by the eccentric monarch to disperse, 
like large censers, fragrant smoke over the city during the 
hours of prayer. The Azhar and Hasanayn Mosques are 
celebrated for sanctity, but remarkable for nothing save 
ugliness. Few buildings, however, give a nobler idea of 
both founder and architect than that which bears Sultan 

* In Niebuhr's time, a Christian passing one of the very holy 
buildings on foot, was liable to be seized and circumcised. All mosques 
may now be entered with certain precautions. 

f A "jama" is a place where people assemble to pray — a house of 
public worship. "A masjid" is any place of prayer, private or public. 
From "masjid" we derive our "mosque." 


Hasan's name. The stranger stands almost awe-struck 
before walls high towering without a single break, a 
hypaethral court, severe in masculine beauty, a gateway 
that might suit the palace of the Titans, and the massive 
grandeur of its lofty minaret. This mosque, with its fort- 
ress aspect, owns no more relationship to the efforts of a 
later age than does Canterbury Cathedral to an Anglo- 
Indian " Gothic." For dignified elegance and refined taste, 
the mosque and tomb of Kaid Bey and the other Mameluke 
kings are admirable. Even in their present state beauty 
presides over decay, and the traveller has seldom seen aught 
more striking than the rich light of the stained glass pour- 
ing through the first shades of evening upon the marble 

We will now enter the El Azhar mosque. At the 
dwarf wooden railings we take off our slippers, hold them 
in the left hand, sole to sole, that no dirt may fall from them, 
and cross the threshold with the right foot, ejaculating 
Bismillah, &c. Next we repair to the Meyzaah, or large 
tank, for ablution, without which it is scarcely lawful to 
appear in the house of Allah. We then seek some proper 
place for devotion, place our slippers on some other object 
in front of us to warn the lounger, and perform a prayer of 
two prostrations in honor of the mosque. This done, we 
may wander about, and consider the several objects of 

The moon shines splendidly upon a vast hypaethral court, 
paved with stones which are polished like glass by the feet 
of the Faithful. There is darkness in the body of the build- 
ing, a large parallelogrammic hall, at least twice too long 
for its height, supported by a forest of pillars, thin, poor- 
looking crooked marble columns, planted avenue-like, and 
lined with torn and dirty matting. A few oil lamps shed 
doubtful light upon scanty groups, who are debating some 


point of grammar, or listening to the words of wisdom that 
fall from the mouth of a Waiz.* Presently they will leave 
the hypostyle, and throw themselves upon the flags of the 
quadrangle, where they may enjoy the open air, and avoid 
some fleas. It is now "long vacation:" so the holy build- 
ing has become a kind of caravanserai for travellers ; per- 
haps a score of nations meet in it ; there is a confusion of 
tongues, and the din at times is deafening. Around the 
court runs a tolerably well-built colonnade, whose entabla- 
ture is garnished with crimson arabesques, and in the inner 
wall are pierced apartments, now closed with plank doors. 
Of the Riwaks, as they are called, the Azhar contains 
twenty-four, one for each recognised nation in El-Islam, and 
of these, fifteen are still open to students. Inside them we 
find nothing but matting, and a pile of large dingy wooden 
boxes, which once contained the college library, but are 
now, generally speaking, empty.f 

The Azhar is the grand collegiate mosque of this city, — 
once celebrated throughout the world of El-Islam. It was 
built, I was told, originally in poor style by one Jauhar, the 
slave of a Moorish merchant, in consequence of a dream 

* An " adviser," or " lecturer," — any learned man who delivers a 
discourse upon the principles of El-Islam. 

f Cairo was once celebrated for its magnificent collections of books. 
Besides private libraries, each large mosque had its bibliotheca. But 
Cairo has now for years supplied other countries with books, and the 
decay of religious zeal has encouraged the unprincipled to steal and 
sell MSS. Cairo has still some large libraries, but most of them are 
private property, and the proprietors will not readily lend or give 
access to their treasures. The principal opportunity of buying books 
is during the month Ramazan, when they are publicly sold in the 
Azhar mosque. The Orientalist will, however, meet with many disap- 
pointments ; besides the difficulty of discovering good works, he will 
find in the booksellers, scribes, et hoc genus omne, a finished race of 


that ordered him to "erect a place whence the light of 
science should shine upon El-Islam." 

It gradually increased by " Wakf " * of lands, money, 
and books. Of late years it has considerably declined, the 
result of sequestrations, and of the diminished esteem in 
which the purely religious sciences are now held in the land 
of Egypt. Yet it is calculated that between 2000 and 
3000 students of all nations and ages receive instruction 
here gratis. Each one is provided with bread, in a quan- 
tity varying with the amount of endowment in the Riwak 
set apart for his nation, with some article of clothing on 
festival days, and a few piastres once a year. The profes- 
sors, who are about 150 in number, may not take fees from 
their pupils ; some lecture on account of the religious merit 
of the action, others to gain the high title of " Teacher in 
El Azhar." 

The following is the course of study in the Azhar. The 
school-boy of four or five years' standing has been taught, 
by a liberal application of the maxim, " the green rod is of 
the trees of Paradise," to chaunt the Koran without under- 
standing it, the elementary rules of arithmetic, and, if he is 
destined to be a learned man, the art of writing. 
He then registers his name in El Azhar, and applies him- 
self to the branches of study most cultivated in El- 
Islam, namely Nahw (syntax), Fikh (divinity), Hadis (the 
traditions of the Prophet), and Tafsir, or exposition of the 

The young Egyptian reads at the same time the Sarf, 
or the Grammar of the Yerb, and El Nahw, or the Gram- 
mar and Syntax of the Noun. But as Arabic is his mother- 
tongue, he is not required to study the former so deeply as 
are the Turks, the Persians, and the Indians. If he desire, 

* An "entailed bequest." 


however, to be a proficient, he must carefully peruse five 
books in El Sarf *, and six in El Nahw.f 

Master of grammar, our student now aj3plies himself to 
its proper end and purpose, Divinity. Of the four schools, 
those of Abu Hanifah and El Shafei are most common in 
Cairo ; the followers of Ibn Malik abound only in Southern 
Egypt and the Berberah country, and the Hanbali is al- 
most unknown. The theologian begins with what is called 
a Matn or text, a short, dry, and often obscure treatise, a 
mere string of precepts; in fact, the skeleton of the subject. 
This he learns by repeated perusal, till he can quote almost 
every passage literally. He then passes to its " Sharh," or 
commentary, generally the work of some other savant, who 
explains the difficulty of the text, amplifies its Laconicisms, 
enters into exceptional cases, and deals with principles and 
reasons, as well as with mere precept. 

In order to become a Fakih, or divine of distinguished 
fame, the follower of Abu Hanifah must peruse about ten 

* The popular volumes are, 1. El Amsilah, showing the simple con- 
jugation of the triliteral verb; 2. Bisia, the work of some unknown 
author, explaining the formation of the verb into increased infinities, 
the quadrilateral verb, (fee. ; 3. The Maksua, a well-known book written 
by the great Imam Abu' Hanifah; 4. The "Izzi," an explanatory treat- 
ise, the work of a Turk, " Izzah Effendi." And lastly, the Marah of 
Ahmed el Saudi. These five tracts are bound together in a little 
volume, printed at the government establishment. 

El Amsilah is explained in Turkish, to teach boys the art of "parsing:" 
Egyptians generally confine themselves in El Sarf to the Izzi, and the 
Lamiyat el Afal of the grammarian Ibn Malik. 

f First, the well-known " Ajrumiyah " (printed by M. Vaucelle), and 
its commentary, El Kafrawi. Thirdly, the Alfiyyah (Thousand Distichs) 
of Ibn Malik, written in verse for mnemonic purposes, but thereby ren- 
dered so difficult as to require the lengthy commentary of El Ashmumi. 
The fifth is the well-known work called the Katr el Nidu (the Dew 
Drop), celebrated from Cairo to Cabul; and last of all the " Azhari." 



volumes, some of huge size, written in a diffuse style : the 
Shafei's reading is not quite so extensive. Theology is 
much studied, because it leads directly to the gaining of 
daily bread, as priest or tutor ; and other scientific pursuits 
are neglected for the opposite reason. 

The theologian in Egypt, as in other parts of El Islam, 
must have a superficial knowledge of the Prophet's tradi- 
tions. Of these there are eight well known collections, but 
the three first only are those generally read. 

School-boys are instructed, almost when in their infancy, 
to intone the Koran ; at the university they are taught a 
more exact system of chaunting. The style called "Hafs" 
is most common in Egypt, as it is indeed throughout the 
Moslem world. And after learning to read the holy volume, 
some savans are ambitious enough to wish to understand it : 
under these circumstances they must dive into the exposition 
of the Koran. 

Our student is now a perfect Fakih or Mulla. But the 
poor fellow has no scholarship or fellowship — no easy tutor- 
ship — no fat living to look forward to. After wasting seven 
years, or twice seven years, over his studies, and reading 
till his brain is dizzy, his digestion gone, and his eyes half 
blind, he must either starve upon college alms, or squat, 
like my old Shaykh Mohammed, in a druggist's shop, or 
become pedagogue and curate in some country place, on the 
pay of 81. per annum. With such prospects it is wonderful 
how the Azhar can present any attractions ; but the southern 
man is essentially an idler, and many become Olema, like 
Capuchins, in order to do nothing. A favored few rise to 
the degree of Mudarris (professors), and thence become 
Kazis and Muftis. This is another inducement to matricu- 
late ; every undergraduate having an eye upon the Wazi-ship, 
with as much chance of obtaining it as the country paroco 
has to become a cardinal. Others again devote themselves 


to laical pursuits, degenerate into Wakils (lawyers), or seek 
their fortunes as Katibs — public or private accountants.* 

To conclude this part of the subject, I cannot agree 
with Dr. Bowring when he harshly says, upon the sub- 
ject of Moslem education: "The instruction given by the 
Doctors of the law in the religious schools, for the formation 
of the Mohammedan priesthood, is of the most worthless 
character." His opinion is equally open to objection with 
that of those who depreciate the law itself because it deals 
rather in precepts than in principle, in ceremonies and ordi- 
nances, rather than in ethics and aesthetics. Both are what 
Eastern faiths and Eastern training have ever been, — both 
are eminently adapted for the child-like state of the Oriental 
mind. When the people learn to appreciate ethics, and to 
understand psychics and aesthetics, the demand will create a 
supply. Meanwhile they leave transcendentalism to their 
poets, and busy themselves with preparing for heaven by 
practising the only part of their faith now intelligible to 
them — the material. 

It is not to be supposed that a people in this stage of 
civilization could be so fervently devout as the Egyptians 
are without the bad leaven of bigotry. The same tongue 
which is employed in blessing the Almighty, is, it is con- 
ceived, doing its work equally well in cursing his enemies. 

* As a specimen of the state of periodical literature in Egypt, I may 
quote the history of the " Bulak Independent," as Europeans facetiously 
call it. When Mohammed Ali, determining to have an " organ," directed 
an officer to be editor of a weekly paper, the officer replied, that no one 
would read it, and consequently that no one would pay for it. The 
Pacha remedied this by an order that a subscription should be struck 
off from the pay of all employees, European and Egyptian, whose salary 
amounted to a certain sum. Upon which the editor accepted the task, 
but being paid before his work was published, he of course never supplied 
his subscribers with their copies. 


Wherefore the Kafir is denounced by every sex, age, class, 
and condition, by the man of the world, as by the boy at 
the school, out of, as well as in, the mosque. If you ask 
your friend who is the person with a black turban, he 

" A Christian. Allah make his countenance cold !" 

If you inquire of your servant, who are the people sing- 
ing in the next house, it is ten to one that his answer will 

" A Jew. May his lot be Jehannum !" 

It appears unintelligible, still it is not less true, that 
Egyptians who have lived as servants under European 
roofs for years, retain the liveliest loathing for the manners 
and customs of their masters. Few Franks, save those 
who have mixed with the Egyptians in Oriental disguise, 
are aware of their repugnance to, and contempt for, Euro- 
peans — so well is the feeling veiled under the garb of 
innate politeness, and so great is their reserve, when con- 
versing with those of strange religions. I had a good 
opportunity of ascertaining the truth when the first rumor 
of a Russian war arose. Almost every able-bodied man 
spoke of hastening to the Jihan,* and the only thing that 
looked like apprehension was the too eager depreciation of 
their foes. All seemed delighted at the idea of French 
co-operation, for, somehow or other, the Frenchman is 
everywhere popular. When speaking of England, they 
were not equally easy : heads were rolled, pious sentences 
were ejaculated, and finally out came the old Eastern cry, 
" Of a truth they are Shaitans, those English." The 
Austrians are despised, because the East knows nothing of 
them since the days of Osmanlee hosts threatened the gates 
of Vienna. The Greeks are hated as clever scoundrels, 

* A crusade, a holy war. 


ever ready to do El-Islam a mischief. The Maltese, the 
greatest of cowards off their own ground, are regarded 
with a profound contempt : these are the proteges which 
bring the British nation into disrepute at Cairo. And 
Italians are known only as " istruttori" and " distruttori" — 
doctors, druggists, and pedagogues. 

Yet Egyptian human nature is, like human nature 
everywhere, contradictory. Hating and despising Euro- 
peans, they still long for European rule. This people 
admire an iron-handed and lion-hearted despotism; they 
hate a timid and grinding tyranny. 



Besides patients I had made some pleasant acquaintances 
at Cairo. Anton Zananire, a young Syrian of considerable 
attainments as a linguist, paid me the compliment of per- 
mitting me to see the fair face of his "Hareem." Mr. 
Hatchadoor Noory, an Armenian gentleman, well known 
in Bombay, amongst other acts of kindness, introduced me 
to one of his compatriots, Khwayah Yusuf, whose advice, 
as an old traveller, was most useful to me. He had wan- 
dered far and wide, picking up everywhere some scrap of 
strange knowledge, and his history was a romance. Ex- 
pelled for a youthful peccadillo from Cairo, he started upon 
his travels, qualified himself for sanctity at Meccah and El 
Medinah, became a religious beggar at Bagdad, studied 
French at Paris, and finally settled down as a professor of 
languages, under an amnesty, at Cairo. In his house I 
saw an Armenian marriage. The occasion was a memorable 
one: after the gloom and sameness of Moslem society, 
nothing could be more gladdening than the unveiled face 
of a pretty woman. Some of the guests were undeniably 
charming brunettes, with the blackest possible locks, and 


the brightest conceivable eyes ; only one pretty girl wore 
the national costume ;* yet they all smoked chibouques and 
sat upon the divans, and as they entered the room, with a 
sweet simplicity, kissed the hands of the priest, and of the 
other old gentlemen present. 

Among the number of my acquaintances was a Meccan 
boy, Mohammed El Basyuni, from whom I bought the 
pilgrim-garb called " El-ihram" and the Kafan or shroud, 
with which the Moslem usually starts upon such a journey 
as mine was. He, being on his way homewards after a 
visit to Constantinople, was most anxious to accompany me 
in the character of a " companion." But he had travelled 
too much to suit me; he had visited India, seen English- 
men, and lived with the " Nawwab Baloo" of Surat. 
Moreover, he showed signs of over-wisdom. He had been 
a regular visitor, till I cured one of his friends of an 
ophthalmia, after which he gave me his address at Meccah, 
and was seen no more. Haji Wali described him and his 
party to be " Nas jarrar" (extractors) and certainly he had 
not misjudged them. But the sequel will prove how Pro- 
vidence disposes of what man proposes, and as the boy, 
Mohammed, eventually did become my companion through- 
out the pilgrimage, I will place him before the reader as 
summarily as possible. 

He is a beardless youth, of about eighteen, chocolate 
brown, with high features, and a bold profile ; his bony and 
decided Meccan cast of face is lit up by the peculiar 
Egyptian eye, which seems to descend from generation to 

* It has been too frequently treated of, to leave room for a fresh 
description. Though pretty and picturesque, it is open to the reproach 
of Moslem dressing, namely, that the in-door toilette admits of a display 
of bust, and is generally so scanty and flimsy that it is unfit to meet 
the eye of a stranger. This, probably the effect of secluding women, 
has now become a cause for concealing them. 


generation. His figure was short and broad, with a ten- 
dency to be obese, the result of a strong stomach and the 
power of sleeping at discretion. He could read a little, 
write his name, and was uncommonly clever at a bargain. 
Meccah had taught him to speak excellent Arabic, to 
understand the literary dialect, to be eloquent in abuse, 
and to be profound at prayer and pilgrimage. Constan- 
tinople had given him a taste for Anacreontic singing, and 
female society of the questionable kind, a love of strong 
waters, — the hypocrite looked positively scandalised when 
I first suggested the subject, — and an off-hand latitudinarian 
mode of dealing with serious subjects in general. I found 
him to be the youngest son of a widow, whose doting fond- 
ness had moulded his disposition ; he was selfish and affec- 
tionate, as spoiled children usually are, volatile, easily 
offended, and as easily pacified (the Oriental), coveting 
other men's goods, and profuse of his own (the Arab), with 
a matchless intrepidity of countenance (the traveller), brazen 
lunged, not more than half brave, exceedingly astute, with 
an acute sense of honor, especially where his relations were 
concerned (the individual). I have seen him in a fit of 
fury because some one cursed his father; and he and I 
nearly parted because on one occasion I applied to him an 
epithet which, etymologically considered, might be exceed- 
ingly insulting to a high-minded brother, but which in popu- 
lar parlance signifies nothing. This "point d^honneur^was 
the boy Mohammed's strong point. 

During my residence in Cairo I laid in my stores for the 
journey. These consisted of tea, coffee, rice, loaf-sugar, 
dates, oil, vinegar, tobacco, lanterns, and cooking utensils, 
a small bell-shaped tent, costing twelve shillings, and three 
water skins for the desert. The provisions were placed in 
a " Kafas" or hamper artistically made of palm sticks, and 
in a huge Sahharah, or wooden box, about three feet each 


way, covered with leather or skin, and provided with a 
small lid fitting into the top. The former, together with 
my green box containing medicines, and saddle-bags full of 
clothes, hung on one side of the camel, a counterpoise to 
the big Sahharah on the other flank, Bedouins always 
requiring a tolerably equal balance of weight. On the top 
of the load transversely was placed a Shibriyah or cot, in 
which Shaykh Nur squatted like a large crow. This 
worthy had strutted out into the streets armed with a pair 
of horse-pistols and a sword almost as long as himself. No 
sooner did the mischievous boys of Cairo — they are as 
bad as the gamins of Paris and London — catch sight of 
him than they began to scream with laughter at the sight 
of the " Hindi (Indian) in arms," till like a vagrant owl pur- 
sued by a flight of larks he ran back into the caravanserai. 
Having spent all my ready money at Cairo I was obliged 
to renew the supply. My native friends advised me to take 
at least eighty pounds, and considering the expense of out- 
fit for desert travelling, the sum did not appear excessive. 
I should have found some difficulty in raising the money 
had it not been for the kindness of a friend at Alexandria 
and a compatriot at Cairo. My Indians scrutinised the 
diminutive square paper* — my letter of credit — as a raven 

* At my final interview with the committee of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, one member advised an order to be made out on the 
Society's bankers ; another, kindly offered to give me one on his own, 
Coutts, <fec. ; but I, having more experience in Oriental travelling, 
begged only to be furnished with a most diminutive piece of paper 
permitting me to draw upon the Society, which was at once given by 
Dr. Shaw, the Secretary, and which proved of so much use eventually. 

It was purposely made as small as possible, in order to fit into a 
talisman case. But the traveller must bear in mind, that if his letters 
of credit be addressed to Orientals, the sheet of paper should always 
be large, and grand-looking. These people have no faith in notes, — 
commercial, epistolary, or diplomatic. 


may sometimes be seen peering, with head askance, into the . 
interior of a suspected marrow-bone. " Can this be a bond 
fide draft?" they mentally inquired. And finally they 
offered, most politely, to write to England for me to draw 
the money, and to forward it in a sealed bag directed " El 
Medinah." I need scarcely say that such a style of trans- 
mission would, in the case of precious metals, have left no 
possible chance of its safe arrival. When the difficulty was 
overcome, I bought fifty pounds worth of German dollars, 
and invested the rest in English and Turkish sovereigns. 
The gold I myself carried ; part of the silver I sewed up in 
Shaykh Nur's leather waistbelt, and part was packed in the 
boxes, for this reason, — when Bedouins begin plundering a 
respectable man, if they find a certain amount of ready 
money in his baggage, they do not search his person. If 
they find none they proceed to a personal inspection, and if 
his waist-belt be empty they are rather disposed to rip open 
his stomach, in the belief that he must have discovered 
some peculiarly ingenious way of secreting valuables. Hav- 
ing got through this difficulty I immediately fell into 
another. My hardly-earned Alexandrian passport required 
a double viza, one at the Zabit's office, the other at the con- 
sul's. After returning to Egypt I found it was the practice 
of travellers who required any civility from the English 
official at Cairo to enter the presence furnished with an 
order from the Foreign Office. 

I had neglected the precaution, and had ample reason 
to regret having done so. Failing at the British consulate, 
and unwilling to leave Cairo without being " en rbglef — 
the Egyptians warned me that Suez was a place of obsta- 
cles to pilgrims — I was obliged to look elsewhere for pro- 
tection. My friend Haji Wali was the first consulted : after 
a long discussion he offered to take me to his consul, the 
Persian, and to find out for what sum I could become a 


temporary subject of the Shah. We went to the sign of 
the " Lion and the Sun," and found the dragoman, a subtle 
Syrian Christian, who, after a rigid inquiry into the state of 
my purse (my country was no consideration at all), intro- 
duced me to the Great Man. I have described this person- 
age once already, and truly he merits not a second notice. 
The interview was a ludicrous one. He treated us with 
exceeding hauteur, motioned me to sit almost out of hear- 
ing, and after rolling his head in profound silence for nearly 
a quarter of an hour, vouchsafed the information that though 
my father might be a Shirazi, and my mother an Afghan, 
he had not the honor of my acquaintance. His companion, 
a large old Persian with Polyphemean eyebrows and a mul- 
berry beard, put some gruff and discouraging questions. 
So I quoted the verses 

M He is a man who benefits his fellow men, 
Not he who says 'why,' and 'wherefore,' and 'how much?'" 

upon which an imperious wave of the arm directed me to 
return to the dragoman, who had the effrontery to ask me 
four pounds sterling for a Persian passport. I offered one. 
He derided my offer, and I went away perplexed. On my 
return to Cairo some months afterwards, he sent to say that 
had he known me as an Englishman, I should have had the 
document gratis, — a civility for which he was duly thanked. 

At last my Shaykh Mohammed hit upon the plan. 
" Thou art," said he, " an Afghan, I will fetch hither the 
principal of the Afghan college at the Azahar, and he, if 
thou make it worth his while " (this in a whisper) " will be 
thy friend." The case was looking desperate ; my preceptor 
was urged to lose no time. 

Presently Shaykh Mohammed returned in company 
with the principal, a little, thin, ragged-bearded, one-eyed, 


hare-lipped divine, dressed in very dirty clothes, of nonde- 
script cut. Born at Muscat of Afghan parents, and brought 
up at Meccah, he was a kind of cosmopolite, speaking five 
languages fluently, and full of reminiscences of toil and travel. 
He refused pipes and coffee, professing to be ascetically 
disposed : but he ate more than half my dinner, to reassure 
me I presume, should I have been fearful that abstinence 
might injure his health. We then chatted in sundry tongues. 
I offered certain presents of books, which were rejected 
(such articles being valueless), and the Shaykh Abd el 
Wahhab having expressed his satisfaction at. my account of 
myself, told me to call for him at the Azhar mosque next 

Accordingly at six a.m. Shaykh Mohammed and Abdullah 
Khan,* — the latter equipped in a gigantic sprigged-muslin 
turban, so as to pass for a student of theology — repaired to El 
Azhar. Passing through the open quadrangle we entered 
the large hall which forms the body of the mosque. In the 
northern wall was a dwarf door, leading by breakneck stairs 
to a pigeon-hole, the study of the learned Afghan Shaykh. 
We found him ensconced behind piles of musty and greasy 
manuscripts, surrounded by scholars and scribes, with whom 
he was cheapening books. He had not much business to 
transact ; but long before he was ready, the stifling atmo- 
sphere drove us out of the study, and we repaired to the 
hall. Presently the Shaykh joined us, and we all rode on 
away to the citadel, and waited in a mosque till the office 
hour struck. When the doors were opened we went into 
the " divan," and sat patiently till the Shaykh found an op- 
portunity of putting in a word. The officials were two in 
number ; one an old invalid, very thin and sickly-looking, 

* Khan is a title assumed in India and other countries by all 
Afghans, and Pathans, their descendants, simple as well as gentle. 


dressed in the Turco-European style, whose hand was being 
severely kissed by a troop of religious beggars, to whom he 
had done some small favors ; the other was a stout young 
clerk, whose duty it was to engross, and not to have his 
hand kissed. 

My name and other essentials were required, and no 
objections were offered, for who holier than the Shaykh 
Abd el Wahhab ibn Yunus el Sulaymani? The clerk 
filled up a paper in the Turkish language, apparently bor- 
rowed from the European method for spoiling the traveller, 
certified me, upon the Shaykh's security, to be one Abdullah, 
the son of Yusuf ( Joseph), originally from Cabool, described 
my person, and in exchange for five piastres handed me the 
document. I received it with joy, and still keep it as a trophy. 

With bows, and benedictions, and many wishes that 
Allah might make it the officials' fate to become pilgrims, 
we left the office, and returned towards El Azhar. * When 
we had nearly reached the mosque, Shaykh Mohammed 
lagged behind, and made the sign. I drew near the 
Afghan, and asked for his hand. He took the hint, and 
muttering " it is no matter ! " — " it is not necessary — " by 
Allah it is not required !" extended his fingers, and brought 
the musculus " guineorum?' 1 to bear upon three dollars. 

Poor man ! I believe it was his necessity that con- 
sented to be paid for the doing a common act of Moslem 
charity ; he had a wife and children, and the calling of an 
Alim * is no longer worth much in Egypt. 

I wasted but little time in taking leave of my friends, 
telling them by way of precaution, that my destination was 
Meccah via Jeddah, and firmly determining, if possible, to 
make El Medinah via Yambu. " Conceal," says the Arabic 
proverb, " thy tenets, thy treasure, and thy travelling.' , 

* A theologian, a learned man. 



Shaykh Nassar, a Bedouin of Tur (Mount Sinai), being on 
his way homewards, agreed to let me have two dromedaries 
for the«um of 50 piastres, or about ten shillings each. Being 
desirous to start with a certain display of respectability, I 
accepted these terms : a man of humble pretensions would 
have travelled with a single animal, and a camel-man run- 
ning behind him. But, besides ostentation, I wanted my 
attendant to be mounted, that we might make a forced 
march in order to ascertain how much a four years' life of 
European effeminacy had impaired my powers of endurance. 
The reader may believe the assertion that there are few 
better tests than an eighty-four mile ride in midsummer, on 
a bad wooden saddle, borne by a worse dromedary, across 
a desert. 

I started my Indian boy and heavy luggage for Suez 
two days before the end of the Eed, — laden camels gene- 
rally taking fifty-five or sixty hours to do the journey, and 
I spent the intermediate time with Haji Wali. He advised 
me to mount about 3 p. m., so that I might arrive at Suez 
on the evening of the next day, and assisted me in making 


due preparations of water, provisions, tobacco, and a bed 
for the road. Early on the morning of departure the 
Afghan Shaykh came to the caravanserai, and breakfasted 
with us, " because Allah willed it." After a copious meal 
he bestowed upon me a stately benediction, and would 
have embraced me, but I humbly kissed his hand : sad to 
relate, immediately that his back was turned, Haji Wali 
raised his forefinger to a right angle with the palm, and 
burst into a shout of irreverent laughter. At 3 o'clock 
Nassar, the Bedouin, came to announce that the drome- 
daries were saddled. I dressed myself, sticking a pistol in 
my belt, and passing the crimson silk cord of the hamail or 
pocket Koran over my shoulder, in token of being a pilgrim 
— distributing a few trifling presents to friends and servants, 
and accompanied by the Shaykh Mohammed, and Haji 
Wali, descended the stairs with an important gait. In the 
court-yard sat the camels, (dromedaries they could not be 
called,) and I found that a second driver was going to 
accompany us. I objected to this, as the extra Bedouin 
would, of course, expect to be fed by me ; but Nassar swore 
the man was his brother, and, as you rarely gain by small 
disputes with these people, he was allowed to have his 
own way. 

Then came the preparatory leave-takings. Haji "Wali 
embraced me heartily, and so did my poor old Shaykh, who, 
despite his decrepitude and my objections, insisted upon 
accompanying me to the city gate. I mounted the camel, 
crossed my legs before the pommel — stirrups are not used 
in Egypt — and, preceding my friend, descended the street 
leading towards the dessert. As we emerged from the 
huge gateway of the caravanserai all the bystanders ex- 
claimed, "Allah bless thee, Y'al Hajj,* and restore thee to 

* "O pilgrim!" 


thy country and thy friends !" And passing through the 
Bab el Nasr, where I addressed the salutation of peace to 
the sentry, and to the officer commanding the guard, both 
gave me God-speed with great cordiality — the pilgrim's 
blessing in Asia, like the old woman's in Europe, being sup- 
posed to possess peculiar efficacy. Outside the gate my 
friends took a final leave of me, and I will not deny having 
felt a tightening of heart as their honest faces and forms 
faded in the distance. 

But Shaykh Nassar switches his camel's shoulder, and 
appears inclined to take the lead. This is a trial of man- 
liness. There is no time for emotion. Not a moment can 
be spared, even for a retrospect. I kick my dromedary, 
who steps out into a jog-trot. The Bedouins with a loud 
ringing laugh attempt to give me the go-by. I resist, and 
we continue like children till the camels are at their speed, 
though we have eighty-four miles before us, and above an 
atmosphere like a furnace blast. The road is deserted 
at this hour, otherwise grave Moslem travellers would 
have believed the police to be nearer than convenient 
to us. 

Presently we drew rein, and exchanged our pace for 
one more seasonable, whilst the sun began to tell on man 
and beast. High raised as we were above the ground, the 
reflected heat struck us sensibly, and the glare of a maca- 
damized road added a few extra degrees of caloric* The 

* It is Prince Puckler Muskau, if I recollect rightly, who mentions 
that in his case a pair of dark spectacles produced a marked difference 
of apparent temperature, whilst travelling over the sultry sand of the 
desert. I have often remarked the same phenomenon. The Arabs, 
doubtless for some reason of the kind, always draw their head-kerchiefs, 
like hoods, far over their brows, and cover up their mouths, even when 
the sun and wind are behind them. Inhabitants of the desert are to be 
recognised by the net- work of wrinkles traced in the skin round the 


Bedouins, to refresh themselves, prepare to smoke. They 
fill my chibouque, light it with a flint and steel, and cotton 
dipped in a solution of gunpowder, and pass it over to 
me.* After a few puffs I return it to them, and they smoke 
it turn by turn. Then they begin to while away the tedium 
of the road by asking questions, which passe-temps is not 
easily exhausted; for they are never satisfied till they know 
as much of you as you do of yourself. They next resort to 
talking about victuals, for with this hungry race of Bedou- 
ins, food, as a topic of conversation, takes the place of 
money in more civilised lands. And lastly, even this en- 
grossing subject being exhausted for the moment, they 
take refuge in singing ; and, monotonous and droning as it 
is, their song has yet an artless plaintiveness, which admira- 
bly suits the singer and the scenery. If you listen to the 
words, you will surely hear allusions to bright verdure, 
cool shades, bubbling rills, or something which hereabouts 
man hath not, and yet which his soul desires. 

And now, while Nassar and his brother are chanting a 
duet, the refrain being, 

" Wal arzu mablul bi matar," 

" And the earth was wet with rain," 

I must crave leave to say a few words, despite the trite- 
orbits, the result of half-closing their eyelids; but this is done to temper 
the intensity of the light. 

* Their own pipe-tubes were of coarse wood, in shape somewhat 
resembling the German pipe. The bowl was of soft stone, apparently 
steatite, which, when fresh, is easily fashioned with a knife. In Arabia 
the Bedouins, and even the towns-people, use on journeys an earthen 
tube from five to six inches shorter than the English " clay," thicker in 
the tube, with a large bowl, and colored yellowish-red. It contains a 
handful of tobacco, and the smoker emits puffs like a chimney. In some 
of these articles the bowl forms a rectangle with the tube ; in others, 
the whole is an unbroken curve, like the old Turkish Meerschaum. 



ness of the subject, about the modern Sinaitic race of 

A wonderful change has taken place in the Bedouin 
tribes. Niebuhr notes the trouble they gave him, and 
their perpetual hankering for both murder and pillage. 
Even in the late Mohammed Ali's early reign, no governor 
of Suez dared to flog, or to lay hands upon a Turi, what- 
ever offence he might have committed within the walls of 
the town. Now the wild man's sword is taken from him 
before he is allowed to enter the gates, and my old ac- 
quaintance, Giaffar Bey, would think no more of belabor- 
ing a Bedouin than of flogging a Fellah.* Such is the 
result of Mohammed Ali's rigorous policy. 

The most good-humored and sociable of men, they 
delight in a jest, and may readily be managed by kindness 
and courtesy. Yet they are passionate, nice upon points 
of honor, revengeful, and easily offended, where their pecu- 
liar prejudices are misunderstood. Those travellers who 
complain of their insolence and extortion may have been 

* In the mouth of a Turk, no epithet is more contemptuous than 
that of " Fellah ibn Fellah" — " boor, son of a boor !" The Osmanlis 
have, as usual, a semi-religious tradition to account for the superiority 
of their nation over the Egyptians. When the learned doctor, Abu 
Abdullah Mohammed ben Idris el Shafei, returned from Mecca to the 
banks of the Nile, he mounted, it is said, a donkey belonging to one of 
the Asinarii of Bulak. Arriving at the caravanserai, he gave the man 
ample fare, whereupon the Egyptian putting forth his hand, and saying 
" haat," called for more. The doctor doubled the fee ; still the double 
was demanded. At last the divine's purse was exhausted, and the pro- 
prietor of the donkey waxed insolent. A wandering Turk seeing this, 
took all the money from the Egyptian, paid him his due, solemnly 
kicked him, and returned the rest to El Shafei, who asked him his 
name — "Osman" — and his nation — the "Osinanli" — blessed him, and 
prophesied to his countrymen supremacy over the Fellahs and donkey 
boys of Egypt. 


either ignorant of their language, or offensive to them by- 
assumption of superiority — in the Desert man meets man — 
or physically unfitted to acquire their esteem. 

We journeyed on till near sunset through the wilder- 
ness without ennui. It is strange how the mind can be 
amused amid scenery that presents so few objects to 
occupy it. But in such a country every slight modification 
of form or color rivets observation : the senses are sharp- 
ened, and perceptive faculties, prone to sleep over a con- 
fused shifting of scenery, act vigorously when excited by 
the capability of embracing each detail. Moreover, desert 
views are eminently suggestive ; they appeal to the future, 
not to the past ; they arouse because they are by no means 
memorial. To the solitary wayfarer there is an interest in 
the wilderness unknown to Cape seas and Alpine glaciers, 
and even to the rolling prairie — the effect of continued 
excitement on the mind, stimulating its powers to their 
pitch. Above, through a sky terrible in its stainless 
beauty, and the splendors of a pitiless blinding glare, the 
Simoom caresses you like a lion with naming breath. 
Around lie drifted sand heaps, upon which each puff of 
wind leaves its own trace in solid waves, flayed rocks, the 
very skeletons of mountains, and hard unbroken plains, 
over which he who rides is spurred by the idea, that the 
bursting of a water skin, or the pricking of a camel's hoof, 
would be a certain death of torture — a haggard land, 
infested with wild beasts, and wilder men — a region whose 
very fountains murmur the warning words, "Drink and 
away!" What can be more exciting? what more sub- 
lime ? Man's heart bounds in his breast at the thought of 
measuring his puny force with nature's might, and of 
emerging triumphant from the trial. This explains the 
Arab's proverb, " Voyaging is a victory." In the desert 
even more than upon the ocean, there is present death : • 


hardship is there, and piracies, and shipwreck — solitary, 
not in crowds, where, as the Persians say, "Death is a 
festival" — and this sense of danger, never absent, invests 
the scene of travel with an interest not its own. 

Let the traveller who suspects exaggeration leave the 
Suez road for an hour or two, and gallop northwards over 
the sands : in the drear silence, the solitude, and the fan- 
tastic desolation of the place, he will feel what the Desert 
may be. 

And then the Oases,* and little lines of fertility — how 
soft and how beautiful ! — even though the Wady El Ward 
(the Vale of Flowers) be the name of some stern flat upon 
which a handful of wild shrubs blossom while struggling 
through a cold season's ephemeral existence. In such cir- 
cumstances the mind is influenced through the body. 
Though your mouth glows, and your skin is parched, yet 
you feel no languor, the effect of humid heat ; your lungs 

* Nothing can be more incorrect than the vulgar idea of an Arabian 
Oasis, except it be the popular conception of an Arabian desert. One 
reads of "isles of the sandy sea," but never sees them. The real 
" wady" is, generally speaking, a rocky valley, bisected by the bed of a 
mountain torrent, dry during the hot season. In such places the 
Bedouins love to encamp, because they find food and drink — water 
being always procurable by digging. 

When the supply is perennial, the wady becomes the site of a vil- 
lage. The Desert is as unaptly compared to a " sandy sea." Most of 
the wilds of Arabia resemble the tract between Suez and Cairo ; only 
the former are of primitive formation, whereas the others are of a later 
date. Sand heaps are found in every desert, but sand plains are 
merely a local feature, not the general face of the country. The wil- 
derness east of the Nile is generally a hard dry earth, which requires 
only a monsoon to become highly productive : even where silicious 
sand covers the plain, the waters of a torrent, depositing humus or 
vegetable mould, bind the particles together, and fit it for the recep- 
tion of seed. 


are lightened, your sight brightens, your memory recovers 
its tone, and your spirits become exuberant; your fancy 
and imagination are powerfully aroused, and the wildness 
and sublimity of the scenes around you stir up all the 
energies of your soul — whether for exertion, danger, or 
strife. Your morale improves : you become frank and 
cordial, hospitable and single-minded : the hypocritical 
politeness and the slavery of civilization are left behind you 
in the city. Your senses are quickened : they require no 
stimulants but air and exercise. In the Desert, spirituous 
liquors excite only disgust. There is a keen enjoyment in 
a mere animal existence. The sharp appetite disposes of 
the most indigestible food, the sand is softer than a bed of 
down, and the purity of the air suddenly puts to flight a 
dire cohort of diseases. Hence it is that both sexes, and 
every age, the most material as well as the most imagina- 
tive of minds, the tamest citizen, the most peaceful student, 
the spoiled child of civilization, all feel their hearts dilate, 
and their pulses beat strong as they look down from their 
dromedaries upon the " glorious Desert." Where do we 
hear of a " traveller" being disappointed by it ? It is 
another illustration of the ancient truth, that nature returns 
to man, however unworthily he has treated her. And 
believe me, gentle reader, that when once your tastes have 
conformed to the tranquillity of such travel, you will suffer 
real pain in returning to the turmoil of civilization. You 
will anticipate the bustle and the confusion of artificial life, 
its luxury and its false pleasures, with repugnance. De- 
pressed in spirits, you will for a time after your return feel 
incapable of mental or bodily exertion. The air of cities 
will suffocate you, and the care-worn and cadaverous coun- 
tenances of citizens will haunt you like a vision of judg- 


As the black shadow mounted in the East,* I turned off 
the road, and was suddenly saluted by a figure rising from 
a little hollow with an " As' Salamo Alaykum" of truly 
Arab sound.f I looked at the speaker for a moment with- 
out recognising him. He then advanced with voluble 
expressions of joy, invited me to sup, seized my camel's 
halter without waiting for an answer, "nakh'dj" him, 
led me hurriedly to a carpet spread in a sandy hollow, 
pulled off my slippers, gave me cold water for ablution, told 
me that he had mistaken me at a distance for a u Sherif" 
of the Arabs, but was delighted to find himself in error, and 
urged me to hurry over ablution, otherwise that night 
would come on before we could say our prayers. It was 
Mohammed El Basyuni, the Meccan boy of whom I had 
bought my pilgrim-garb at Cairo. After prayer he lighted 
a pipe, and immediately placed the snake-like tube in my 
hand; this is an argument which the tired traveller can 
rarely resist. He then began to rummage my saddle-bags ; 
drew forth stores of provisions, rolls, water-melons, boiled 
eggs, and dates, and whilst lighting the fire and boiling 
coffee, managed to distribute his own stock, which was 
neither plentiful nor first-rate, to the camel-men. Shaykh 
Nassar and his brother looked aghast at this movement, 
but the boy was inexorable. They tried a few rough hints, 
which he noticed by singing a Hindostani couplet that 
asserts the impropriety of anointing rats' heads with jasmine 

* This, as a general rule in El-Islam, is a sign that the Maghrib or 
evening prayer must not be delayed. 

\ This salutation of peace is so differently pronounced by every 
eastern nation that the observing traveller will easily make of it a 

\ To " nakh," in Arabic, is to gurgle " Ikh ! ikh !" in the bottom of 
one's throat till the camel kneels down. "We have no English word for 
this proceeding. 


oil. They suspected abuse, and waxed cross ; he acknow- 
ledged this by deriding them. And I urged him on, want- 
ing to see how the city Arab treats the countryman. He 
then took my tobacco pouch from the angry Bedouins, and 
in a stage whisper reproved me for entrusting it to such 
thieves, insisting at the same time upon drinking all the 
coffee, so that the poor guides had to prepare for them- 
selves. He improved every opportunity of making mis- 

After an hour most amusingly spent in this way, I arose 
and insisted upon mounting. Shaykh Nassar and his 
brother had reckoned upon living gratis, for at least three 
days, judging it improbable that a soft Effendi would 
hurry himself. When they saw the fair vision dissolved, 
they began to finesse ; they induced the camel man, who ran 
by the side of Mohammed's dromedary, to precede the ani- 
mal, a favorite manoeuvre to prevent overspeed. Ordered 
to fall back, the man pleaded fatigue and inability to walk. 
The boy Mohammed immediately asked if I had any objec- 
tion to dismount one of my guides, and to let his weary 
attendant ride for an hour or so. I at once assented, and 
the Bedouins obeyed me with ominous grumblings. When 
we resumed our march, the melancholy Arabs had no song 
left in them, whereas Mohammed chanted vociferously, and 
quoted bad Hindostani and worse Persian till silence was 
forcibly imposed upon him. The camel men lagged behind, 
in order to prevent my dromedary advancing too fast, and 
the boy's guide, after dismounting, would stride along in 
front of us, under pretext of showing the way. And so we 
jogged on, now walking, then trotting, till the dromeda- 
ries began to grunt with fatigue, and the Arabs clamored 
for a halt. 

At midnight we reached the centre station, and lay down 
under its walls to take a little rest. The dews fell heavily, 


wetting the sheets that covered us ; but who cares for such 
trifles in the Desert ? The moon shone bright ;* the breeze 
blew coolly, and the jackal sang a lullaby which lost no 
time in producing the soundest sleep. As the wolf's tail f 
appeared in the heavens we arose, mounted our camels, and 
resumed the march in real earnest. The dawn passed away 
in its delicious coolness, and sultry morning came on. Then 
day arose in its fierceness, and the noontide sun made the 
plain glow with terrible heat. Still we pressed onwards. 

At 3 p. m. we turned off the road into a dry water-course. 
The sand was dotted with the dried-up leaves of the Datura, 
and strongly perfumed by a kind of Absinthe, the sweetest 
herb of the Desert. A Mimosa was there, and although its 
shade at this season is little better than a cocoa tree's \ the 
Bedouins would not neglect it. We lay down upon the 
sand to rest among a party of Maghrabi pilgrims travelling 
to Suez. It was impossible to help pitying their state, nor 
could I eat, seeing them hungry, thirsty, and way-worn. 
So Nassar served out about a pint of water and a little 
bread to each man. Then they asked for more. None was 
to be had, so they cried out that money would do as well. I 
had determined upon being generous to the extent of a few 
pence. Custom, as well as inclination, was in favor of the 
act ; but when the alms became a demand, and the demand 
was backed by fierce looks and a derisive sneer, and a kind 

* " The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." 
(Psalm cxxi. 6.) Easterns still believe firmly in the evil effects of moon- 
light on the human frame. From Sindh to Abyssinia, the traveller will 
hear tales of wonder concerning it. 

•j- The wolf's tail is the Persian name for the first brushes of grey 
light which appear as forerunners of dawn. 

\ We are told in verse of "a cocoa's feathery shade." But to real- 
ise the prose picture, let the home reader, choosing some sultry August 
day, fasten a large fan to a long pole, and enjoy himself under it. 


of reference to their knives, gentle charity took the alarm 
and fled. My pistols kept them at bay, for they were only 
making an attempt to intimidate, and though I took the pre- 
caution of sitting apart from them, there Avas no real danger. 
Of the Maghrabis I shall have more to say when relating 
my voyage in the Pilgrim Ship : they were the only travel- 
lers from whom we experienced the least annoyance. Nu- 
merous parties of Turks, Arabs, and Afghans, and a few 
Indians, were on the same errand as ourselves. All, as we 
passed them, welcomed us with the friendly salutation that 
so becomes men engaged in a labor of religion. 

Suez was now near. In the blue distance rose the castel- 
lated peaks and the wide sand-tracts over which lies the land 
route to El Hejaz. Before us the sight ever dear to English 
eyes, — a strip of sea gloriously azure, with a gallant steamer 
walking the waters. On the right-hand side lay the broad 
slopes of Jebel Mukuttum, a range of hills which flanks the 
road all the way from Cairo. It was at this hour a specta- 
cle not easily to be forgotten. We drew up at a small 
building called Bir Suways (well of Suez), and under pretext 
of watering the cattle, I sat for half an hour admiring the 
charms of the Desert. The eye never tires of loveliness of 
hue, and the memory of the hideousness of this range, when 
a sun in front exposed each barren and deformed feature, 
supplied the evening view with another element of attrac- 

It was already night when we passed through the tum- 
bling gateway of Suez ; and there still remained the task of 
finding my servant and effects. After wandering in and 
out of every Wakalat in the village, we accidentally heard 
that an Indian had taken lodgings at a hostelry bearing the 
name of Jirjis. On arriving there our satisfaction was 
diminished by the intelligence that the same Indian, after 
locking the door, had gone out with his friends to a ship in 



the harbor ; in fact, that he had made all preparations for 
running away. I dismounted, and tried to persuade the 
porter to break open the wooden bolt, but he absolutely 
refused, and threatened the police. Meanwhile Mohammed 
had found a party of friends, men of El Medinah, returning 
to the pilgrimage after a begging tour through Egypt and 
Turkey. The meeting was characterised by vociferous 
inquiries, loud guffaws, and warm embraces. I was invited 
to share their supper, and their dormitory, — an uncovered 
platform projecting from the gallery over the square court 
below, but I had neither appetite nor spirits to be sociable. 
The porter, after persuasion, showed me an empty room, in 
which I spread my carpet. That night was a sad oue. My 
eighty-four mile ride had made every bone ache ; I had lost 
much epidermis, and the sun had seared every portion of 
skin exposed to it. So, lamenting my degeneracy and the 
ill effects of four years' domicile in Europe, and equally dis- 
quieted in mind about the fate of my goods and chattels, I 
fell into an uncomfortable sleep. 



Early on the morning after my arrival, I arose, and con- 
sulted my new acquaintances about what steps should be 
taken towards recovering the missing property. They 
unanimously advised a visit to the governor, whom, how- 
ever, they described to be a " Kelb ibn Kelb," (dog, son of 
a dog,) who never returned Moslems' salutations, and 
thought all men dirt to be trodden under foot by the Turks. 
The boy Mohammed showed his savoirfaire by extracting 
from his huge box a fine embroidered cap, and a grand 
peach-colored coat, with which I was instantly invested ; he 
dressed himself with similar magnificence, and we then set 
out to the " palace." 

Giaffar Bey, — he has since been deposed, — then occupied 
the position of judge, officer commanding, collector of cus- 
toms, and magistrate of Suez. The large old Turk received 
me most superciliously, disdained all return of salaam, and 
fixing upon me two little eyes like gimlets demanded my 
business. I stated that one Shaykh Nur, my Indian servant, 
had played me false ; therefore I required permission to 
break into the room supposed to contain my effects. He 


asked my profession. I replied the medical. This led him to 
inquire if I had any medicine for the eyes, and being answer- 
ed in the affirmative, he sent a messenger with me to 
enforce obedience on the part of the porter. The obnoxious 
measure was, however, unnecessary. As we entered the 
caravanserai there appeared at the door the black face of 
Shaykh Nur, looking, though accompanied by sundry fellow 
countrymen, uncommonly as if he merited and expected the 
bamboo. He had, by his own account, been seduced into 
the festivities of a coal hulk manned by Indian Lascars, and 
the vehemence of his self-accusation saved him from the 
chastisement which I had determined to administer. 

I must now briefly describe the party into which fate 
threw me : the names of these men will so frequently 
appear in the following pages, that a few words about their 
natures will not be misplaced. 

First of all comes Omar Effendi, — so called in honor, — 
a Daghistani or Circassian, the grandson of a Hanafi Mufti 
at El Medinah, and the son of a Shayk Raid, an officer whose 
duty it is to lead dromedary-caravans. He sits upon his 
cot, a small, short, plump body, of yellow complexion and 
bilious temperament, grey-eyed, soft-featured, and utterly 
beardless, — which affects his feelings, — he looks fifteen, and 
owns to twenty-eight. His manners are those of a student ; 
he dresses respectably, prays regularly, hates the fair sex, 
like an Arab, whose affections and aversions are always in 
extremes, is serious, has a mild demeanor, an humble gait, 
and a soft slow voice. When roused he becomes furious as 
a Bengal tiger. His parents have urged him to marry, and 
he, like Camaralzaman, has informed his father that he is a 
person of great age, but little sense. Urged moreover by a 
melancholy turn of mind, and the want of leisure for study 
at El Medinah, he fled the paternal domicile, and entered 
himself a pauper (student) in the Azhar mosque. His dis- 


consolate friends and .afflicted relations sent a confidential 
man to fetch him home by force, should it be necessary ; he 
has yielded, and is now awaiting the first opportunity of 
travelling, if possible, gratis to El Medinah. 

That confidential man is a negro-servant, called Saad, 
notorious in his native city as El Jinni, the devil. Born and 
bred a slave in Omar Effendi's family, he obtained manu- 
mission, became a soldier in El-Hejaz, was dissatisfied with 
pay perpetually in arrears, turned merchant, and wandered 
far and wide, to Russia, to Gibraltar, and to Baghdad. He 
is the pure African, noisily merry at one moment, at another 
silently sulky, affectionate and abusive, brave and boastful, 
reckless and crafty, exceedingly quarrelsome, and unscrupu- 
lous to the last degree. The bright side of his character is 
his love for, and respect to, the young master Omar Effendi ; 
yet even him he will scold in a paroxysm of fury, and steal 
from him whatever he can lay his hands on. He is generous 
with his goods, but is ever borrowing and never paying 
money ; he dresses like a beggar, with the dirtiest tarboosh 
upon his tufty poll, and only a cotton shirt over his sooty 
skin, whilst his two boxes are full of handsome apparel for 
himself and the three ladies his wives at El Medinah. He 
knows no fear but for those boxes. Frequently during our 
search for a vessel he forced himself into Giaffar Bey's pre- 
sence, and demeaned himself so impudently, that we 
expected to see him lamed by the bastinado ; his forward- 
ness, however, only amused the dignitary. He wanders all 
day about the bazaar, talking about freight and passage, for 
he has resolved, cost what it will, to travel gratis, and with 
doggedness like his, he must succeed. 

Shaykh Hamid el Lamman derives his cognomen, the 
" clarified butter-seller," from a celebrated saint and Sufi of 
the Kadiriyah order, who left a long line of holy descend- 
ants at El Medinah. This Shaykh squats upon a box full of 


presents for the daughter of his paternal uncle,* a perfect 
specimen of the town Arab. His head is crowned with 
a rough Shushah or tuft of hair on the poll ;f his face is of 
a dirty brown, his little goat's beard untrimmed ; his feet are 
bare, and his only garment is an exceedingly unclean ochre- 
colored blouse, tucked at the waist into a leathern girdle 
beneath it. He will not pray, because he is unwilling to 
take pure clothes out of his box ; but he smokes when he 
can get other people's tobacco, and groans between the 
whiffs, conjugating the verb all day, for he is of active 
mind. He can pick out his letters, and he keeps in his 
bosom a little dog's-eared MS. full of serious romances and 
silly prayers, old and exceedingly ill written : this he will 
draw forth at times, peep into for a moment, devoutly kiss, 
and restore to its proper place with all the veneration of 
the vulgar for a book. He can sing all manner of songs, 
slaughter a sheep with dexterity, deliver a grand call to 
prayer, shave, cook, fight, and he excels in the science of 
vituperation : like Saad, he never performs his devotions, 
except when necessary to " keep up appearances." His 
brow crumples at the word wine, but there is quite another 
expression about the region of the mouth ; and Stamboul, 
where he has lived some months, without learning ten 
words of Turkish, is a notable place for displaying pre- 

* His wife. 

f When travelling, the Shushah is allowed to spread over the great- 
est portion of the scalp, to act as a protection against the sun ; and the 
hair being shaved off about two inches all round the head, leaves a 
large circular patch. Nothing can be uglier than such tonsure, and it 
is contrary to the strict law of the Prophet. The Arab, however, 
knows by experience, that habitual exposure of the scalp to a burning 
sun seldom fails to damage its precious contents. He, therefore, wears 
a Shushah during his wanderings, and removes it on his return home. 


Stretched on a carpet, smoking a Persian Kalioon all 
day, lies Salih Shakkar, a Turk, born at El Medinah. We 
were intimate enough on the road, when he borrowed from 
me a little money. But at El Medinah he cut me pitilessly, 
as a " town man" does a country acquaintance accidentally 
met, and of course he tried, though in vain, to evade repay- 
ing his debt. He had a tincture of letters, and appeared to 
have studied critically the subject of "largesse." "The 
generous is Allah's friend, aye, though he be a sinner, and 
the miser is Allah's foe, aye, though he be a saint," was a 
venerable saying always in his mouth. He also informed 
me that Pharaoh, although the quintessence of impiety, is 
mentioned by name in the Koran, by reason of his liberality, 
whereas, Nimrod, another monster of iniquity, is only al- 
luded to, because he was a stingy tyrant. It is almost need- 
less to declare that Salih Shakkar was, as the Indians say, 
a very " fly-sucker." * There were two other men of El 
Medinah in the Wakalat Girgis ; but I omit description, as 
we left them, they being penniless, at Suez. One of them, 
Mahommed Shiklibha, I afterwards met at Meccah, and 
seldom have I seen a more honest and warm-hearted fellow. 
When we were embarking at Suez, he fell upon Hamid's 
bosom, and both of them wept at the prospect of parting 
even for a few days. 

All the individuals above mentioned lost no time in open- 
ing the question of a loan. It was a lesson in oriental meta- 
physics to see their condition. They had a twelve days' 
voyage, and a four days' journey, before them ; boxes to 
carry, custom-houses to face, and stomachs to fill ; yet the 
whole party could scarcely, I believe, muster two dollars of 
ready money. Their boxes were full of valuables, arms, 
clothes, pipes, slippers, sweetmeats, and other "notions," 

* " Makhi-chus," equivalent to our " skin-flint." 


but nothing short of starvation would have induced them 
to pledge the smallest article. 

I foresaw that their company would be an advantage, and 
therefore I hearkened favorably to the honeyed request 
for a few crowns. The boy Mohammed obtained six dol- 
lars; Hamid about five pounds, — I intended to make his 
house at El Medinah my home ; Umar Effendi three dollars ; 
Saad the Devil, two — I gave the money to him at Yambu, 
— and Salih Shakkar fifty piastres. But since in these lands, 
as a rule, no one ever lends coins, or borrowing ever returns 
them, I took care to exact service from the first, to take 
two rich coats from the second, a handsome pipe from the 
third, a "bala" or yataghan from the fourth, and from the 
fifth an imitation Cashmere shawl. After which, we sat 
down and drew out the agreement. It was favorable to 
me: I lent them Egyptian money, and bargained for re- 
payment in the currency of El Hejaz, thereby gaining the 
exchange, which is sometimes 16 per cent. My compa- 
nions having received these small sums, became affectionate 
and eloquent in my praise : they asked me to make one of 
their number for the future at their meals, overwhelmed 
me with questions, insisted upon a present of sweetmeats, 
detected in me a great man under a cloud, — perhaps my 
claims to being a Dervish assisted them to this discovery, — 
and declared that I should perforce be their guest at Mec- 
cah and El Medinah. This sudden elevation led me into an 
imprudence which might have cost me dear. It aroused the 
only suspicion about me ever expressed during the summer's 
trip. My friends had looked at my clothes, overhauled my 
medicine chest, and criticised my pistols ; they sneered at 
my copper-cased watch,* and remembered having seen a 

* This being an indispensable instrument for measuring distances, I 
had it divested of gold case, and provided with a facing carefully stained 


compass at Constantinople. Therefore I imagined they 
would think little about a sextant. This was a mistake. 
The boy Mohammed I afterwards learned, waited only my 
leaving the room to declare that the would-be Haji was one 
of the infidels from India, and a council sat to discuss the 
case. Fortunately for me Umar Effendi had looked over 
a letter which I had written to Haji Wali that morning, and 
he had at various times received categorical replies to cer- 
tain questions in high theology. He felt himself justified in 
declaring, ex cathedrd, the boy Mohammed's position per- 
fectly untenable. And Shaykh Hamid, who looked forward 
to being my host, guide, and debtor in general, and proba- 
bly cared scantily for catechism or creed, swore that the 
light of El Islam was upon my countenance, and conse- 
quently that the boy Mohammed was a pauper, a " fakir," 
an owl, a cut-off one, a stranger, and a Wahhabi, for daring 
to impugn the faith of a brother believer. The scene ended 
with a general abuse of the acute youth, Avho was told on 
all sides that he had no shame and was directed to fear Al- 
lah. I was struck with the expression of my friends' coun- 
tenances when they saw the sextant, and, determining with 
a sigh to leave it behind, I prayed five times a day for 
nearly a week. 

We all agreed not to lose an hour in securing places on 
board some vessel bound to Yambu, and my companions, 
hearing that my passport as a British Indian was scarcely 
"en regie," earnestly advised me to have it signed by the 

and figured with Arabic numerals. In countries where few can judge 
of a watch by its works, it is as well to secure its safety by making the 
exterior look as mean as possible. The watches worn by respectable 
people in El Hejaz are almost always old silver pieces, of the turnip 
shape, with hunting cases and an outer etui of thick leather. Mostly 
they are of Swiss or German manufacture, and they find their way into 
Arabia vid Constantinople and Cairo. 


governor without delay, whilst they occupied themselves 
about the harbor. They warned me that if I displayed the 
Turkish Tezkireh given to me at the citadel of Cairo, I 
should infallibly be ordered to await the caravan, and lose 
their society and friendship. Pilgrims arriving at Alex- 
andria, be it known to the reader, are divided into bodies, 
and distributed by means of Tezkirehs to the three great 
roads, namely, Suez, Cosseir, and the Haj route by land 
round the Gulf of Akabah. After the division has once 
been made, government turns a deaf ear to the representa- 
tions of individuals. The Bey of Suez has an order to 
obstruct pilgrims as much as possible till the end of the 
season, when they are hurried down that way, lest they 
should arrive at Meccah too late. As most of the Egyptian 
high officials have boats, which sail up the Nile laden with 
pilgrims and return freighted with corn, the government 
naturally does its utmost to force the delays and discom- 
forts of this line upon strangers. Knowing these facts, I 
felt that a difficulty was at hand. The first thing was to 
take Shaykh Nur's passport, which was " en regie," and my 
own which was not, to the Bey for signature. He turned 
the papers over and over, as if unable to read them, and 
raised false hopes high by referring me to his clerk. The 
under official at once saw the irregularity of the document, 
asked me why it had not been vise at Cairo, swore that 
under such circumstances nothing would induce the Bey to 
let me proceed, and when I tried persuasion, waxed inso- 
lent. My last hope at Suez was to obtain assistance from 
Mr. George West, H. B. M. sub-vice-consul. I therefore 
took the boy Mohammed with me, choosing him on pur- 
pose, and excusing the step to my companions by concoct- 
ing an artful fable about my having been, in some part of 
Afghanistan, a benefactor to the British nation. We pro- 
ceeded to the consulate. Mr. West, who had been told by 

THE "GEORGE" INtf. 115 

an imprudent friend to expect me, saw through the disguise, 
despite the jargon assumed to satisfy official scruples, and no- 
thing could be kinder than the part he took. His clerk was 
directed to place himself in communication with the Bey's 
factotum, and when objections to signing the Alexandrian 
Tezkireh were offered, the vice-consul said that he would, 
at his own risk, give me a fresh passport as a British subject 
from Suez to Arabia. His firmness prevailed, and on the 
second day, the documents were returned to me in a satis- 
factory state. 

Nothing more comfortless than our days and nights in 
the " George " Inn. The ragged walls of our rooms were 
clammy with dirt, the smoky rafters foul with cobwebs, 
and the floor, bestrewed with kit, in terrible confusion, was 
black with hosts of ants and flies. Pigeons nestled on the 
shelf, cooing amatory ditties the live-long day, and cats, 
like tigers, crawled through a hole in the door, making 
night hideous with their cat-a-waulings. Now a curious 
goat, then an inquisitive jackass, would walk stealthily into 
the room, remark that it was tenanted, and retreat with 
dignified demeanor, and the mosquitoes sang Io Paeans 
over our prostrate forms throughout the twenty-four 
hours. I spare the reader the enumeration of the other 
Egyptian plagues that infested the place. After the first 
day's trial, we determined to spend the hours of light in 
the passages, lying upon our boxes or rugs, smoking, wran- 
gling, and inspecting one another's chests : the latter occu- 
pation was a fertile source of disputes, for nothing was 
more common than for a friend to seize an article belong- 
ing to another, and to swear by the Prophet's beard that 
be admired it, and therefore would not return it. The boy 
Mohammed and Shaykh Nur, who had been intimates the 
first day, differed in opinion on the second, and on the 
third came to pushing each other against the wall. Some- 


times Ave went into the Bazar, a shady street flanked 
with poor little shops, or we sat in the coffee-house,* drink- 
ing hot salt water tinged with burnt bean, or we prayed 
in one of the three tumble-down old mosques, or we 
squatted upon the pier, lamenting the want of Hammams, 
and bathing in the tepid sea. The only society we found 
— excepting an occasional visitor — was that of a party of 
Egyptian women, who with their husbands and families 
occupied some rooms adjoining ours. At first they were 
fierce, and used bad language, when the boy Mohammed 
and I, whilst Omar Effendi was engaged in prayer, and the 
rest were wandering about the town, ventured to linger in 
the cool passage, where they congregated, or to address a 
facetious phrase to them. But hearing that I was a 
Hakim-bashi — for fame had promoted me to the rank of a 
" Physician General" at Suez — all had some ailments ; they 
began prudently with requesting me to display the effects 
of my drugs by dosing myself, but they ended submissively 
by swallowing nauseous compounds in a body. To this 
succeeded a primitive form of flirtation, which mainly con- 
sisted of the demand direct. The most charming of the 
party was one Fattumah, a plump-personed dame fast 
verging upon her thirtieth year, fond of a little flattery, 
and possessed, like all her people, of a most voluble tongue. 
Sometimes the entrance of the male Fellahsf interrupted 

* "We were still at Suez, where we could do as we pleased. But 
respectable Arabs in their own country, unlike Egyptians, are seldom 
to be seen in the places of public resort. " Go to the coffee-house, and 
sing there !" is a reproach sometimes addressed to those who have a 
habit of humming in decent society. 

\ The palmy days of the Egyptian husband, when he might use the 
stick, the sword, or the sack with impunity, are, in civilized places at 
least, now gone by. The wife has only to complain to the Cadi, or to 
the governor, and she is certain of redress. This is right in the ab- 


these little discussions, but people of our respectability and 
nation were not to be imposed upon by such husbands. In 
their presence we only varied the style of conversation — 
inquiring the amount of " Mahr," or marriage settlement, 
deriding the cheapness of womanhood in Egypt, and 
requiring to be furnished on the spot with brides at the 
rate of ten shillings a head.* More often the amiable Fat- 
tumah — the fair sex in this country, though passing frail, 
have the best tempers in the world — would laugh at our 
impertinences. Sometimes, vexed by our imitating her 
Egyptian accent, mimicking her gestures, and depreciating 
her countrywomen, she would wax wroth, and order us to 
be gone, and stretch out her forefinger — a sign that she 
wished to put out our eyes, or adjure Allah to cut the 
heart out of our bosoms. Then the " Marry me, O Fat- 
tumah, O daughter, O female pilgrim !" would give way to 
" Y'al-ago-o-oz !" (O old woman and decrepit !) " O daugh- 
ter of sixty sires, and only fit to carry wood to market !" — 
whereupon would burst a storm of wrath, at the tail of 
which all of us, like children, starting upon our feet, rushed 
out of one another's way. This was the amusement of the 
day. At night we, men, assembling upon the little ter- 
race, drank tea, recited stories, read books, talked of our 
travels, and indulged in various pleasantries. 

The population of Suez now numbers about 4,800. As 
usual in Mohammedan countries no census is taken here. 
Some therefore estimate the population at 6,000. Sixteen 
years ago it was supposed to be under 3,000. After that 

stract, but in practice it acts badly. The fair sex is so unruly in this 
country, that strong measures are necessary to coerce it, and in the arts 
of deceit men have little or no chance against -women. 

* The amount of settlement being, among Moslems as among Chris- 
tians, the test of a bride's value — moral and physical, it will readily be 
understood that our demand was more facetious than complimentary. 


time it rapidly increased till 1850, when a fatal attack of 
cholera reduced it to about half its previous number. The 
average mortality is about twelve a month.* 

The people of Suez are a finer and a fairer race than the 
Cairenes. The former have more the appearance of Arabs: 
their dress is more picturesque, their eyes are carefully 
darkened with Kohl, and they wear sandals not slippers. 
They are, according to all accounts, a turbulent and some- 
what fanatic set, fond of quarrels, and slightly addicted 
to " pronunciamentos." The general programme of one of 
these latter diversions is said to be as follows. The boys 
will first be sent by their fathers about the town in a disor- 
derly mob, and ordered to cry out " Long live the Sultan !" 
with its usual sequel, "Death to the infidels! " The infi- 
dels, Christians or others, must hear and may happen to re- 
sent this ; or possibly the governor, foreseeing a disturbance, 
orders an ingenuous youth or two to be imprisoned, or to 
be caned by the police. Whereupon some person, rendered 
influential by wealth or religious reputation, publicly com- 
plains that the Christians are all in all, and that in these 
evil days El Islam is going to destruction. On this occasion 
the speaker conducts himself with such insolence, that the 
governor must perforce consign him to confinement, which 
exasperates the populace still more. Secret meetings are 
now convened, and in them the chiefs of corporations assume 
a prominent position. If the disturbance be intended by its 
main spring to subside quietly, the conspirators are allowed 
to take their own way ; they will drink copiously, become 
lions about midnight, and recover their hare-hearts before 
noon next day. But if mischief be intended, a case of 
bloodshed is brought about, and then nothing can arrest 

* This may appear a large mortality ; but at Alexandria it is said 
the population is renewed every fourteen years. 


the torrent of popular rage. The Egyptian, with all his 
good humor, merriment, and nonchalance, is notorious for 
doggedness, when, as the popular phrase is, his " blood is 
up." And this, indeed, is his chief merit as a soldier. He 
has a certain mechanical dexterity in the use of arms, and an 
Egyptian regiment will fire a volley as correctly as an Eng- 
lish battalion. But when the head, and not the hands, is 
required, he notably fails, as all Orientals do. The reason 
of their superiority in the field is their peculiar stubbornness, 
and this, together with their powers of digestion and of en- 
during hardship on the line of march, is the quality that 
made them terrible to their old conquerors, the Turks. 



Immense was the confusion on the eventful day of our 
departure. Suppose us standing upon the beach, on the 
morning of a fiery July day, carefully watching our hur- 
riedly-packed goods and chattels, surrounded by a mob of 
idlers, who are not too proud to pick up waifs and strays, 
whilst pilgrims rush about apparently mad, and friends are 
weeping, acquaintances vociferating adieux, boatmen de- 
manding fees, shopmen claiming debts, women shrieking 
and talking with inconceivable power, children crying — in 
short, for an hour or so we were in the thick of a human 
storm. To confound confusion, the boatmen have moored 
their skiff half a dozen yards away from the shore, lest the 
porters should be unable to make more than double their 
fare from the Hajis. Again the Turkish women raise a 
hideous howl, as they are carried off struggling vainly 
in brawny arms ; the children howl because their mothers 
howl ; and the men scold and swear, because in such 
scenes none may be silent. 

From the beach we poled to the little pier, where sat 
the Bey in person to perform a final examination of our 


passports. Several were detected without the necessary- 
document. Some were bastinadoed, others peremptorily 
ordered back to Cairo, and the rest were allowed to pro- 
ceed. At about 10 a. m. we hoisted sail, and ran down 
the channel leading to the roadstead. 

Our Pilgrim Ship, the " Golden Wire," was a Sambuk, 
of about fifty tons, with narrow wedge-like bows, a clean 
water line, a sharp keel, undecked, except upon the poop, 
which was high enough to act as a sail in a gale of wind. 
She carried two masts, imminently raking forward, the main 
considerably larger than the mizen ; the former was pro- 
vided with a huge triangular latine, very deep in the tack, 
but the second sail was unaccountably wanting. She had 
no means of reefing, no compass, no log, no sounding lines, 
nor even the suspicion of a chart. Such probably were the 
craft which carried old Sesostris across the Red Sea to 
Dire ; such the cruisers which once every three years left 
Ezion-Geber for Tarshish; such the transports of which 
one hundred and thirty were required to convey iElius 
Gallus, with his ten thousand men ; and — the East moves 
slowly — such most probably in a. d. 1900 will be the 
" Golden Wire," which s%all convey future pilgrims from 
Suez to El-Hejaz. " Bakhshish" was the last as well as the 
first odious sound I heard in Egypt. The owner of the 
shore-boat would not allow us to climb the sides of our 
vessel before paying him his fare, and when we did so he 
asked for Bakhshish. If Easterns would only imitate the 
example of Europeans — I never yet saw an Englishman 
give Bakhshish to a soul — the nuisance would soon be done 
away with. But on this occasion all my companions com- 
plied with the request, and at times it is unpleasant to be 
singular. The first look at the interior of our vessel 
showed a hopeless sight ; for Ali Murad, the greedy owner, 
had promised to take sixty passengers in the hold, but had 



stretched the number to ninety-seven. Piles of boxes and 
luggage in every shape and form filled the ship from stem 
to stern, and a torrent of Hajis were pouring over the 
sides like ants into the Indian sugar-basin. The poop, too, 
where we had taken our places, was covered with goods, 
and a number of pilgrims had established themselves there 
by might, not by right. 

Presently, to our satisfaction, appeared Saad the Devil, 
equipped as an able seaman, and looking most unlike the 
proprietor of two large boxes full of valuable merchandise. 
This energetic individual instantly prepared for action. 
With our little party to back him, he speedily cleared the 
poop of intruders and their stuff by the simple process of 
pushing or rather throwing them off it into the hold below. 
We then settled down as comfortably as we could ; three 
Syrians, a married Turk with his wife and family, the rais 
or captain of the vessel, with a portion of his crew, and our 
seven selves, composing a total of eighteen human beings, 
upon a space certainly not exceeding ten feet by eight. 
The cabin — a miserable box about the size of the poop, and 
three feet high — was stuffed, like the hold of a slave ship, 
with fifteen wretches, children arra women, and the other 
ninety-seven were disposed upon the luggage, or squatted 
on the bulwarks. Having some experience in such mat- 
ters, and being favored by fortune, I found a spare bed- 
frame slung to the ship's side ; and giving a dollar to its 
owner, a sailor — who flattered himself that, because it was 
his, he would sleep upon it — I instantly appropriated it, 
preferring any hardship outside to the condition of a 
packed herring inside the place of torment. 

Our Maghrabis were sturdy young fellows, round- 
headed, broad-shouldered, tall, and large-limbed, with 
frowning eyes, and voices in a habit of perpetual roar. 
Their manners were rude, and their faces full of fierce con- 


tempt or insolent familiarity. A few old men were there, 
with countenances expressive of intense ferocity ; women 
as savage and full of fight as men; and handsome boys 
with shrill voices, and hands always upon their daggers. 
The women were mere bundles of dirty white rags. The 
males were clad in Burnooses — brown or striped woollen 
cloaks with hoods ; they had neither turban nor tarboosh, 
trusting to their thick curly hair, or to the prodigious 
hardness of their scalps, as a defence against the sun ; and 
there was not a slipper nor a shoe amongst the party. Of 
course all were armed ; but, fortunately for us, none had 
anything more formidable than a cut-and-thrust dagger 
about ten inches long. These Maghrabis travel in hordes 
under a leader who obtains the temporary title of " Maula" 
— the master. He has generally performed a pilgrimage 
or two, and has collected a stock of superficial information, 
which secures for him the respect of his followers, and the 
profound contempt of the heaven-made Ciceroni of Meccah 
and El Medinah. No people endure greater hardships 
when upon the pilgrimage than these Africans, who trust 
almost entirely to alms and to other such dispensations of 
Providence. It is not therefore to be wondered at that 
they rob whenever an opportunity presents itself. Several 
cases of theft occurred on board the " Golden Wire ;" and 
as a plunderer seldom allows himself to be baulked by 
insufficient defence, they are perhaps deservedly accused 
of having committed some revolting murders. 

The first thing to be done after gaining standing-room 
was to fight for greater comfort. A few Turks, ragged 
old men, were mixed up with the Maghrabis, and the 
former began the war by contemptuously elbowing and 
scolding their wild neighbors. The Maghrabis, under their 
leader, " Maula AH," a burly savage, in whom I detected a 
ridiculous resemblance to an old and well-remembered 


schoolmaster, retorted so willingly that in a few minutes 
nothing was to be seen but a confused mass of humanity, 
each item indiscriminately punching and pulling, scratching 
and biting, butting and trampling, whatever was obnoxious 
to such operations, with cries of rage, and all the accompa- 
niments of a proper fray. One of our party on the poop, 
a Syrian, somewhat incautiously, leapt down to aid his 
countrymen by restoring order. He sank immediately 
below the living mass ; and when we fished him out his 
forehead was cut open, half his beard had disappeared, and 
a fine sharp set of teeth belonging to some Maghrabi had 
left their mark in the calf of his leg. The enemy showed 
no love of fair play, and never appeared contented unless 
five or six of them were setting upon a single man. This 
made matters worse. The weaker of course drew their 
daggers, and a few bad wounds were soon given and re- 
ceived. In a few minutes five men were completely dis- 
abled, and the victors began to dread the consequences of 
their victory. 

Then the fighting stopped, and as many could not find 
places, it was agreed that a deputation should wait upon 
Ali Murad, the owner, to inform him of the crowded state 
of the vessel. After keeping us in expectation at least 
three hours, he appeared in a row-boat, and, preserving a 
respectful distance, informed us that any one who pleased 
might leave the ship, and take back his fare. This left the 
case exactly as it was before ; none would abandon his 
party to go on shore : so Ali Murad was rowed off towards 
Suez, giving us a parting injunction to be good, and not 
fight ; to trust in Allah, and that Allah would make all 
things easy to us. His departure was the signal for a 
second fray, which in its accidents differed a little from 
the first. During the previous disturbance we kept our 
places with weapons hi our hands. This time we were 

A PRAY. 125 

summoned by the Maghrabis to relieve their difficulties, by 
taking about half a dozen of them on the poop. Saad the 
Devil at once rose with an oath, and threw amongst us a 
bundle of "Nebut" — goodly ashen staves, six feet long, 
thick as a man's wrist, well greased, and tried in many a 
rough bout. He shouted to us, "Defend yourselves, if 
you don't wish to be the meat of the Maghrabis !" and to 
the enemy, " Dogs and sons of dogs ! now shall you see 
what the children of the Arab are" — "I am Omar of 
Daghistan !" " I am Abdullah, the son of Joseph !" " I 
am Saad, the Devil !" we exclaimed, " renowning it" by 
this display of name and patronymic. To do the enemy 
justice they showed no sign of flinching ; they swarmed 
towards the poop like angry hornets, and encouraged each 
other with loud cries of " Allah akbar !" But we had a 
vantage ground about four feet above them, and their 
palm sticks and short daggers could do nothing against our 
terrible quarter-staves. In vain the " Jacquerie" tried to 
scale the poop and to overpower us by numbers ; their 
courage only secured them more broken heads. 

At first I began to lay on with main morte, really fear- 
ing to kill some one with such a weapon ; but it soon became 
evident that the Maghrabis' heads and shoulders could bear 
and did require the utmost exertion of strength. Presently 
a thought struck me. A large earthen jar full of drinking 
water,* — in its heavy frame of wood the weight might have 
been lOOlbs, — stood upon the edge of the poop, and the 
thick of the fray took place beneath. Seeing an opportunity 
I crept up to the jar, and, without attracting attention, by 

* In these vessels each traveller, unless a previous bargain be made, 
is expected to provide his own water and fire-wood. The best way, 
however, is, when the old wooden box called a tank is sound, to pay 
the captain for providing water, and to keep the key. 


a smart push with the shoulder rolled it down upon the 
swarm of assailants. The fall caused a shriller shriek to rise 
above the ordinary din, for heads, limbs, and bodies were 
sorely bruised by the weight, scratched by the broken pot- 
sherds, and wetted by the sudden discharge. A fear that 
something worse might be forthcoming made the Maghrabis 
shrink oil* towards the end of the vessel. After a few 
minutes, we, sitting in grave silence, received a deputation 
of individuals in whity-brown Burnooses, spotted and striped 
with what Mephistopheles calls a " curious juice." They 
solicited peace, which we granted upon the condition that 
they would bind themselves to keep it. Our heads, shoul- 
ders, and hands were penitentially kissed, and presently the 
fellows returned to bind up their hurts in dirty rags. We 
owed this victory entirely to our own exertions, and the 
meek Omar was by far the fiercest of the party. 

At length, about 3 p.m. on the 6th of July, 1854, we 
shook out the sail, and, as it bellied in the favorable wind, 
we recited the Fat-hah* with up-raised hands which we 
afterwards drew down our faces. As the " Golden Wire " 
started from her place, I could not help casting one wistful 
look upon the British flag floating over the Consulate. But 
the momentary regret was stifled by the heart-bounding 
which prospects of an adventure excite, and by the real 
pleasure of leaving Egypt. I had lived there a stranger in 
the land, and a hapless life it had been : in the streets every 
man's face was the face of a foe as he looked upon the Per- 
sian. Whenever I came in contact with the native officials 
insolence marked the event ; and the circumstance of living 
within hail of my fellow countrymen, and yet an impossibility 
of enjoying their society, still throws a gloom over the 
memory of my first sojourn in Egypt. 

* The first chapter of the Koran. 


The ships of the Red Sea — infamous region of rocks, 
reefs, and shoals — cruise along the coast by day, and for the 
night lay to in the first cove they can find ; they do not sail 
when it blows hard, and as in winter time the weather is 
often stormy and the light of day does not last long, the 
voyage is intolerably slow. At sunset we stayed our adven- 
turous course, and were still within sight of Suez, comforta- 
bly anchored. The Eastern shore was dotted with the little 
grove of palm trees which clusters around the Uyun Musa, 
or Moses' Wells ; and on the west, between two towering 
ridges, lay the mouth of the valley down which the Israel- 
ites fled to the Sea of Sedge. The view was by no means 
deficient in a sort of barbarous splendor. Verdure there 
was literally none, but under the violet and orange tints of 
the sky the chalky rocks became heaps of topazes, and the 
black ridges masses of amethyst. The rising mists, here 
silvery white, there deeply rosy, and the bright blue of the 
waves,* lining long strips of golden sand, compensated for 
the want of softness by a semblance of savage gorgeousness. 

Next morning, before the cerulean hue had vanished 
from the hills, we set sail. It was not long before we 
came to a proper sense of our position. The box containing 
my store of provisions, and, worse still, my opium, was 
at the bottom of the hold, perfectly unapproachable ; we 
had, therefore, the pleasure of breaking our fast on " mare's 
skin,"f and a species of biscuit, hard as a stone and quite as 

* Most travellers remark that they have never seen a brighter blue 
than that of the Red Sea. It was the observation of an early age that 
" the Rede Sea is not more rede than any other sea, but in some place 
thereof is the gravelle rede, and therefore men clepen it the Rede Sea." 

f Jild el Farasa, composition of apricot paste, dried, spread out, and 
folded into sheets, exactly resembling the article after which it is named. 
Turks and Arabs use it when travelling; they dissolve it in water, and 
eat it as a relish with bread or biscuit. 


tasteless. During the day, whilst unsufferable splendor 
reigned above, a dashing of the waters below kept my nest 
in a state of perpetual drench. At night rose a cold bright 
moon, with dews falling so thick and clammy that the skin 
felt as though it would never be dry again. 

The gale was light that day, and the sunbeams were 
fire ; our crew preferred crouching in the shade of the sail to 
take advantage of what wind there was. In spite of our 
impatience we made but little way, and near sunset wc 
anchored on a tongue of sand. 

That evening we enjoyed ourselves upon clean sand, 
whose surface, drifted by the wind into small yellow waves, 
by a little digging and heaping up, was easily converted 
into the coolest and most comfortable of couches. Indeed, 
after the canescent heat of the day, and the tossing of our 
ill-conditioned vessel, we should have been contented with 
lodgings far less luxurious. Fuel was readily collected, and 
while some bathed the others erected a hearth — three large 
stones and a hole open to leeward — lit the fire, and put the 
pot on to boil. Shaykh Nur had fortunately brought a line 
with him ; we had been successful in fishing ; a little rice 
also had been bought ; with this boiled and rock cod broiled 
upon the charcoal, we made a dinner that caused every one 
to forget the breakfast of mare's skin and hard biscuit. 
Presently the rais joined our party, and the usual story-tell- 
ing began. The old man knew the name of each hill, and 
had a legend for every nook and corner in sight. He 
dwelt at length upon the life of Abu Zulaymah, the patron 
saint of these seas, whose little tomb stands at no great dis- 
tance from our bivouac place, and told us how he sits 
watching over the safety of pious mariners in a cave among 
the neighboring rocks, and sipping his coffee, which is brought 
in a raw state from Meccah by green birds, and prepared 
in the usual way by the hands of ministering angels. lie 


showed us the spot where the terrible king of Egypt, when 
close upon the heels of the children of Israel, was whelmed 
in the "hill of waters*," and he warned us that next day 
our way would be through breakers, and reefs, and danger- 
ous currents, over whose troubled depths, since that awful 
day, the Ifrit of the storm has never ceased to flap his sable 
wing. The wincing of the hearers proved that the shaft of 
the old man's words was sharp ; but as night was advancing, 
we unrolled our rugs, and fell asleep upon the sand, all of 
us happy, for we had eaten and drunk, and — since man is a 
hopeful animal — expecting on the morrow that the Ifrit 
would be merciful, and allow us to eat fresh dates at the 
harbor of Tur. 

Fair visions of dates doomed to the Limbo of things 
which should have been ! The grey dawn looked down 
upon us in difficulties. The water is deep near this coast ; 
we had anchored at high tide close to the shore, and the 
ebb had left us high and dry. When this fact became 
apparent, a storm was upon the point of breaking. The 
Maghrabis, but for our interference, would have bastina- 
doed the rais, who, they said with some reason, ought to 
have known better. When this phase of feeling passed 
away, they applied themselves to physical efforts. Physi- 
cal force, however, failed, upon which they changed their 
tactics. At the suggestion of their " Maula," they prepared 
to burn incense in honor of the Shaykh Abu Zulaymah. 
The material not being forthcoming, they used coffee, which 
perhaps accounts for the short-comings of that holy man. 
After this the rais remembered that their previous exertions 

* Burckhardt mentions the Arab legend that the spirits of the 
drowned Egyptians may be seen moving at the bottom of the sea, and 
Finati adds that they are ever busy recruiting their numbers with ship- 
wrecked mariners. 



had not begun under the auspices of the Fat-hah. There- 
fore they prayed, and then re-applied themselves to work. 
Still they failed. Finally, each man called aloud upon his 
own particular saint or spiritual guide, and rushed forward 
as if he alone sufficed for the exploit. Shaykh Hamid 
unwisely quoted the name, and begged the assistance of his 
great ancestor, the " clarified-butter-seller ;" the obdurate 
"Golden Wire" was not moved, and Hamid retired in 
momentary confusion. 

It was now about nine a. m., and the water had risen 
considerably. My morning had been passed in watching 
the influx of the tide, and the grotesque efforts of the 
Maghrabis. When the vessel showed some symptoms of 
unsteadiness, I arose, walked gravely up to her, ranged the 
pilgrims around her with their shoulders to the sides, and 
told them to heave with might when they should hear me 
invoke the revered name of the Indian saint. I raised my 
hands and voice; "Ya Pirau Pir!" Ya Abd el Kader 
Jilani* was the signal. Each Maghrabi worked like an 
Atlas, the " Golden Wire " canted half over, and, sliding 
heavily through the sand, once more floated off into deep 
water. This was generally voted a minor miracle, and the 
Effendi was greatly respected — for a day or two. 

The wind was fair, but we had all to re-embark, an ope- 
ration which went on till noon. After starting, I remarked 
the natural cause which gives this Birkat Faraun — " Pha- 
raoh's Bay," — a bad name. Here the gulf narrows, and the 
winds which rush down the clefts and valleys of the lofty 
mountains on the Eastern and Western shores, meeting 
tides and counter-currents, cause a perpetual commotion. 
In the evening, or rather late in the afternoon, we anchored, 

* A celebrated Sufi or mystic, whom many Indians reverence as the 
Arabs do their Prophet. 


to our infinite disgust, under a ridge of rocks, behind which 
lies the plain of Tur. The rais deterred all from going on 
shore by terrible stories about the Bedouins that haunt the 
place, besides which there was no sand to sleep upon. We re- 
mained, therefore, on board, that night, and, making sail early 
the next morning, threaded through reefs and sand-banks 
into the intricate and dangerous entrance of Tur aboa^ noon. 
Nothing can be meaner than the present appearance of 
the old Phoenician colony, although its position as a harbor, 
and its plentiful supply of fruit and fresh water, make it one 
of the most frequented places on the coast. The only 
remains of any antiquity — except the wells — are the forti- 
fications which the Portuguese erected to keep out the 
Bedouins. The town is inhabited principally by Greek and 
other Christians, who live by selling water and provisions to 
ships. A fleecy cloud hung lightly over the majestic head 
of Jebel Tur, about eventide, and the outlines of the giant 
hills stood " picked out" from the clear blue sky. Our rais, 
weather-wise man, warned us that these were indications of 
a gale, and that, in case of rough weather, he did not intend 
to leave Tur. I was not sorry to hear this. "We had 
passed a pleasant day, drinking sweet water, and eating the 
dates, grapes, and pomegranates, which the people of the 
place carry down to the beach for the benefit of hungry 
pilgrims. Besides which, there were various sights to see, 
and with these we might profitably spend the morrow. We 
therefore pitched the tent upon the sand, and busied our- 
selves with extricating a box of provisions — a labor render- 
ed fighter by the absence of the Maghrabis, some of whom 
were wandering about the beach, whilst others had gone off 
to fill their bags with fresh water. We found their surli- 
ness insufferable ; even when we were passing from poop to 
forecastle, landing or boarding, they grumbled forth their 


Our rais was not mistaken in his prediction. When 
morning broke, we found the wind strong, and the sea 
white with foam. Most of us thought lightly of these ter- 
rors, but our valorous captain swore that he dared not for 
his life cross the mouth of ill-omened Akabah in such a 
storm. We breakfasted, therefore, and afterwards set out 
to visit Moses' hot baths, mounted on wretched donkeys 
with pack-saddles, ignorant of stirrups, and without tails, 
whilst we ourselves suffered generally from boils, which, as 
usual upon a journey, make their appearance in localities 
the most inconvenient. After a ride of two or three miles, 
we entered the gardens, and came suddenly upon the Ham- 
man. It is a prim little bungalow, built by the present 
Pasha of Egypt for his own accommodation, glaringly white- 
washed, and garnished with divans and calico curtains of a 
gorgeous hue. The guardian had been warned of our visit, 
and was present to supply us with bathing-cloths and other 
necessaries. One by one, we entered the cistern, which is 
now in an inner room. The water is about four feet deep, 
warm in winter, cool in summer, of a saltish and bitter taste, 
but celebrated for its invigorating qualities, when applied 
externally. On one side of the calcareous rock, near the 
ground, is the hole opened for the spring by Moses' rod, and 
near it are the marks of Moses' nails — deep indentations in 
the stone, which were probably left there by some extinct 
Saurian. Our cicerone informed us that formerly the finger 
marks existed, and that they were long enough for a man to 
lie in. The same functionary attributed the sanitary pro- 
perties of the spring to the blessings of the Prophet, and 
when asked why Moses had not made sweet water to flow, 
informed us that the great law-giver had intended the 
spring for bathing in, not for drinking. We sat with him, 
eating the small yellow dates of Tur, which are delicious, 
melting like honey in the mouth, and leaving a surpassing 


arribre goilt. After finishing sundry pipes and cups of cof- 
fee, we gave the man a few piastres, and, mounting our 
donkeys, started eastward for the Bir Musa, or well of 
Moses, which we reached in half an hour. It is a fine old 
well, built round and domed over with roughly squared 
stones. The sides of the pit were so rugged that a man 
could climb down them, and at the bottom was a pool of 
water, sweet and abundant. 

In the even, when we returned to our tent, a Syrian, 
one of our party on the poop, came out to meet us with 
the information that several large vessels had arrived from 
Suez, comparatively speaking empty, and that the captain 
of one of them would land us at Yambu for three dollars 
a head. The proposal was a tempting one. But presently 
it became apparent that my companions were unwilling to 
shift their precious boxes, and moreover, that I should have 
to pay for those who could not, or would not pay for them- 
selves, — that is to say, for the whole party. As such a dis- 
play of wealth would have been unadvisable, I dismissed 
the idea with a sigh. Amongst the large vessels was one 
freighted with Persian pilgrims, a most disagreeable race of 
men on a journey or a voyage. They would not land at 
first, because they feared the Bedouins. They would not 
take water from the town people, because some of these 
were Christians. Moreover, they insisted upon making 
their own call to prayer, which heretical proceeding — it 
admits five extra words — our party, orthodox Moslems, 
would rather have died than permitted. When their crier, 
a small wizen-faced man, began the Azan, we received it 
with a shout of derision, and some, hastily snatching up 
their weapons, offered him an opportunity of martyrdom. 
The Maghrabis, too, hearing that the Persians were Rafaz 
(heretics), crowded fiercely round to do a little fighting for 
the faith. The long-bearded men took the alarm. They 


were twice the number of our small party, and therefore 
had been in the habit of strutting about with nonchalance, 
and looking at us fixedly, and otherwise demeaning them- 
selves in an indecorous way. But when it came to the point, 
they showed the white feather. These Persians accompa- 
nied us to the end of our voyage. As they approached the 
Holy Land, visions of the "nebut " caused a change for the 
better in their manners. At Mahar they meekly endured 
a variety of insults, and at Yambu they cringed to us like 



On the 11th July, about dawn, we left Tur, with the un- 
pleasant certainty of not touching ground for thirty-six 
hours. I passed the time in steadfast contemplation of the 
webs of my umbrella, and in making the following meteor- 
ological remarks. 

Morning. The air is mild and balmy as that of an Ita- 
lian spring ; thick mists roll down the valleys along the sea, 
and a haze like mother-o'-pearl crowns the headlands. The 
distant rocks show Titanic walls, lofty donjons, huge pro- 
jecting bastions, and moats full of deep shade. At their 
base runs a sea of amethyst, and as earth receives the first 
touches of light, their summits, almost transparent, mingle 
with the jasper tints of the sky. Nothing can be more 
delicious than this hour. But morning soon fades. The sun 
bursts up from behind the main, a fierce enemy, a foe that 
will compel every one to crouch before him. He dyes the 
sky orange, and the sea "incarnadine," where its violet 
surface is stained by his rays, and mercilessly, puts to flight 
the mists and haze and the little agate-colored masses of 
cloud that were before floating in the firmament: the 


atmosphere is so clear that now and then a planet is visible. 
For the two hours following sunrise the rays are endurable ; 
after that they become a fiery ordeal. The morning beams 
oppress you with a feeling of sickness ; their steady glow, 
reflected by the glaring waters, blinds your eyes, blisters 
your skin, and parches your mouth : you now become a 
monomaniac; you do nothing but count the slow hours 
that must "minute by" before you can be relieved. 

Noon. The wind, reverberated by the glowing hills, 
is like the blast of a lime-kiln. All color melts away with 
the canescence from above. The sky is a dead milk-white, 
and the mirror-like sea so reflects the tint that you can 
scarcely distinguish the line of the horizon. After noon the 
wind sleeps upon the reeking shore ; there is a deep still- 
ness ; the only sound heard is the melancholy flapping of the 
sail. Men are not so much sleeping as half senseless ; they 
feel as if a few more degrees of heat would be death. 

Sunset. The enemy sinks behind the deep cerulean sea, 
under a canopy of gigantic rainbow which covers half the 
face of heaven. Nearest to the horizon is an arch of tawny 
orange ; above it another of the brightest gold, and based 
upon these a semicircle of tender sea green blends with a 
score of delicate gradations into the sapphire sky. Across 
the rainbow the sun throws its rays in the form of spokes 
tinged with a beautiful pink. The Eastern sky is mantled 
with a purple flush that picks out the forms of the hazy desert 
and the sharp-cut hills. Language is a thing too cold, too 
poor, to express the harmony and the majesty of this hour, 
which is evanescent, however, as it is lovely. Night falls 
rapidly, when suddenly the appearance of the zodiacal light 
restores the scene to what it was Again the grey hills and 
the grim rocks become rosy or golden, the palms green, the 
sands saffron, and the sea wears a lilac surface of dimpling 
waves. But after a quarter of an hour all fades once more ; 


the cliffs are naked and ghastly under the moon, whose light 
falling upon this wilderness of white crags and pinnacles is 
most strange — most mysterious. 

Night. The horizon is all of darkness, and the sea re- 
flects the white visage of the moon as in a mirror of steel. 
In the air we see giant columns of pallid light, distinct, 
based upon the indigo-colored waves, and standing with 
their heads lost in endless space. The stars glitter with ex- 
ceeding brilliance. You feel the " sweet influence of the 
Pleiades." You are bound by the "bond of Orion." 
Hesperus bears with him a thousand things. In communion 
with them your hours pass swiftly by, till the heavy dews 
warn you to cover up your face and sleep. And with one 
look at a certain little star in the north, under which lies 
all that makes life worth living through — you fall into 

Those thirty-six hours were a trial even to the hard- 
headed Bedouins. The Syrian and his two friends were ill. 
Omar Effendi, it is true, had the courage to say his sunset 
prayers, but the exertion so altered him that he looked 
another man. Salih Shakkar in despair ate dates till threat- 
ened with dysentery. Saad the Devil had rigged out for 
himself a cot three feet long, which, arched with bent bam- 
boo and covered with cloaks, he had slung on the larboard 
side ; but the loud grumbling which proceeded from his nest 
proved that his precaution had not been a remedy. Even 
the boy Mohammed forgot to chatter, to scold, to smoke, 
and to make himself generally disagreeable. The Turkish 
lady appeared dying, and was not strong enough to wail. 
How the poor mother stood her trials so well, made every 
one wonder. The most pleasant trait in my companions' 
characters was the consideration they showed to her, and 
their attention to her children. Whenever one of the party 
drew forth a little delicacy — a few dates or a pomegranate 


— they gave away a share of it to the children, and most of 
them took their turns to nurse the baby. This was genuine 
politeness — kindness of heart. It would be well for those 
who sweepingly accuse Easterns of want of gallantry to con- 
trast this trait of character with the savage scenes of civili- 
zation that take place among the " Overlands " at Cairo 
and Suez. No foreigner could be present for the first time 
without bearing away the lasting impression that the sons 
of Great Britain are model barbarians. On board the 
" Golden Wire " Salih Shakkar was the sole base exception 
to the general gallantry of my companions. 

As the sun starts towards the west, falling harmlessly 
upon our heads, we arise, still faint and dizzy, calling for 
water, which before we had not the strength to drink, and 
pipes, and coffee, and similar luxuries. Our primitive 
kitchen is a square wooden box, lined with clay, and filled 
with sand, upon which three or four large stones are placed 
to form a hearth. Preparations are now made for the even- 
ing meal, which is of the simplest description. A little rice, 
a few dates, or an onion, will keep a man alive in our posi- 
tion ; a single " good dinner " would justify long odds 
against his seeing the next evening. Moreover, it is 
impossible in such cases to have an appetite, fortunately, as 
our store of provisions is a scanty one. Arabs consider it 
desirable on a journey to eat hot food once in twenty-four 
hours; so we determine to cook, despite all difficulties. 
The operation, however, is by no means satisfactory ; twenty 
expectants surround the single fire, and there is sure to be 
a quarrel amongst them every five minutes. 

As the breeze, cooled by the dew, begins to fan our 
parched faces, we recover our spirits amazingly. Songs are 
sung, and stories are told, and rough jests are bandied 
about, till not unfrequently Oriental sensitiveness is sorely 
touched. Or, if we see the prospect of storm or calm, we 


draw forth, and piously peruse, a " Hizlr el Bahr."* And 
lastly, we lie down upon our cribs, wrapped up in thickly 
padded cotton coverlets, and forget the troubles of the past 
day, and the discomforts of that to come. 

Late on the evening of the 11th July we passed in sight 
of the narrow mouth of Akabah, whose famosi rupes are a 
terror to the voyagers of these latitudes. After passing 
Akabah, we saw nothing but sea and sky, and we spent a 
weary night and day tossing upon the waters, — our only 
exercise: every face brightened as, about sunset, on the 12th, 
we suddenly glided into the mooring-place. 

" Damghah Anchorage" — is scarcely visible from the sea. 
An islet of limestone rock defends the entrance, leaving a 
narrow passage on each side. It is not before he enters 
that the mariner discovers the extent and the depth of this 
creek, which indents far into the land, and offers 20 feet ot 
fine clear anchorage which no swell can reach. Inside it 
looks more like a lake, and at night its color is gloriously 
blue even as Geneva itself. 

The Rais, as usual, attempted to deter us from landing, by 
romancing about the "Bedoynes and Ascopards," repre- 
senting them to be " folke ryghte felonouse and foule and 
of cursed kynde." To which we replied by shouldering our 
Nebuts and scrambling into the cock-boat. On shore we 
found a few wretched looking beings, seated upon heaps of 
dried wood, which they sold to travellers, and three boat 
loads of Syrian pilgrims who had preceded us. We often 
envied them their small swift craft, with their double latine 
sails disposed in "hare-ears," — which, about evening time in 
the far distance, looked like white gulls alighting on the pur- 
ple wave; and they justified our envy by arriving at Yambu 

* The peculiar fitness of these devotional exercises, is derived from 
the supposition that it makes all safe upon the ocean wave. 


two days before us. The pilgrims had bivouacked upon 
the beach, and were engaged in drinking their after dinner 
coffee. They received us with all the rites of hospitality, as 
natives of the Medinah should everywhere be received; 
we sat an hour with them, ate a little fruit, satisfied our 
thirst, smoked their pipes, and when taking leave blessed 
them. Then returning to the vessel, we fed, and lost no time 
in falling asleep. 

The dawn of the next day saw our sail flapping in the 
idle air. And it was not without difficulty that in the 
course of the forenoon we entered Wijh Harbor, distant 
from Damghah but very few miles. Wijh is also a natural 
anchorage, in no way differing from that where we passed 
the night, except in being smaller and shallower. The town 
is a collection of huts meanly built of round stones, and clus- 
tering upon a piece of elevated rock on the northern side 
of the creek. It is distant about five miles from the inland 
fort of the same name, which receives the Egyptian caravan, 
and thrives like its port, by selling water and provisions to 

With reeling limbs we landed at Wijh, and finding a 
large coffee-house above and over the beach, we installed 
ourselves there. But the Persians who had preceded us 
had occupied all the shady places outside ; we were forced 
to content ourselves with the interior. It was a building of 
artless construction, consisting of little but a roof supported 
by wooden posts, roughly hewn from date trees, and round 
the tamped earthen floor ran a raised bench of unbaked brick 
forming a divan for mats and sleeping rugs. In the centre 
a huge square Mastabah, or platform, answered a similar pur- 
pose. Here and there appeared attempts at long and side 
walls, but these superfluities had been allowed to admit day- 
light through large gaps. In one corner stood an altar-like 
elevation, also of earthen work, containing a hole for a char- 


coal fire, upon which were three huge coffee pots dirtily 
tinned. Near it were ranged the Shishas, or Egyptian 
hookahs, old, exceedingly unclean, and worn by age and hard 
work. A wooden framework, pierced with circular aper- 
tures, supported a number of porous earthenware gUllehs, 
full of cold sweet water ; the charge for these was, as usual 
in El Hejaz, five paras apiece. Such was the furniture of 
the cafe, and the only relief to the barrenness of the view 
was a fine mellowing atmosphere composed of smoke, steam, 
flies, and gnats in about equal proportions. I have been 
diffuse in my description of this coffee-house, as it was a type 
of its class: from Alexandria to Aden the traveller will 
everywhere meet with buildings of the same kind. 

My character that day was severely tried. Besides the 
Persian pilgrims, a number of nondescripts who came in 
the same vessel were hanging about the coffee-house, lying 
down, smoking, drinking water, bathing and correcting 
their teeth with their daggers. One inquisitive man was 
always at my side. He called himself a Pathan (Afghan 
settled in India) ; he could speak five or six languages, 
knew a number of people everywhere, and had travelled 
far and wide over Central Asia. These men are always 
good detectors of an incognito. I avoided answering his 
question about my native place, and after telling him that 
I had no longer name or nation, being a Dervish, asked 
him, when he insisted upon my having been born some- 
where, to guess for himself. To my joy he claimed me 
for a brother Pathan, and in course of conversation he 
declared himself to be the nephew of an Afghan merchant, 
a gallant old man who had been civil to me at Cairo. We 
then sat smoking together with " effusion." Becoming 
confidential, he complained that he, a Sunni or orthodox 
Moslem, had been abused, maltreated, and beaten by his 
fellow travellers, the heretical pilgrims. I naturally offered 


to arm my party, to take up our cudgels, and to revenge 
my compatriot. This thoroughly Afghan style of doing 
business could not fail to make him him sure of his man. 
He declined, however, wisely remembering that he had 
nearly a fortnight of the Persians' society still to endure. 
But he promised himself the gratification, when he reached 
Meccah, of sheathing his knife in the chief offender's heart. 

At 8 a.m. next morning we left Wijh, after passing a 
night tolerably comfortable, by contrast, in the coffee-house. 
We took with us the stores necessary, for though our Rais 
had promised to anchor "under Jeber Hasan that evening 
no one believed him. We sailed among ledges of rock, 
golden sands, green weeds, and in some places through 
yellow lines of what appeared to me at a distance foam 
after a storm. All day a sailor sat upon the mast-head, 
looking at the water, which was transparent as blue glass, 
and shouting out the direction. This precaution was some- 
what stultified by the roar of voices, which never failed to 
mingle with the warning, but we wore every half hour, and 
did not run aground. 

Near sunset the wind came on to blow freshly, and we 
cast anchor together with the Persian pilgrims upon a rock. 
This was one of the celebrated coral reefs of the Red Sea, 
and the sight justified Forskal's emphatic description of it — 
luxus lususque naturae. It was a huge ledge or platform 
rising but little above the level of the deep ; the water-side 
was perpendicular as the wall of a fort, and whilst a frigate 
might have floated within a yard of it, every ripple dashed 
over the reef, replenishing the little basins and hollows in 
the surface. The color of the waves near it was a vivid 
amethyst. In the distance the eye rested upon what 
appeared to be meadows of brilliant flowers resembling 
those of earth, only brighter far and more lovely. Nor was 
this land of the sea wholly desolate. Gulls and terns here 


swam the tide, there, seated upon the coral, devoured their 
prey. In the air, troops of birds contended noisily for a 
dead flying-fish, and in the deep water they chased a shoal, 
which, in their fright and hurry to escape the pursuers, 
veiled the surface with spray and foam. And as night came 
on the scene shifted, displaying fresh beauties. Shadows 
clothed the background, whose features, dimly revealed, 
allowed full scope to the imagination. In the fore part of 
the picture lay the sea, shining under the rays of the moon 
with a metallic lustre, while its border, where the wavelets 
dashed upon the reef, was lit by what the Arabs call the 
"jewels of the deep" — brilliant flashes of phosphoric light 
giving an idea of splendor which art would strive in vain to 
imitate. Altogether it was a bit of fairy land, a spot for 
nymphs and sea-gods to disport upon ; you might have 
heard, without astonishment, old Proteus calling his flocks 
with the wreathed horn ; and Aphrodite seated in her conch 
would have been only a fit and proper climax of its loveliness. 

At dawn next day we started ; we made Jebel Hasan* 
about noon, and an hour or so before sunset we glided into 
Marsa Maliar. 

Wading on shore, we cut our feet with the sharp rocks. 
I remember to have felt the acute pain of something run- 
ning into my toe, but after looking at the place and extract- 
ing what appeared to be a bit of thorn, I dismissed the 
subject, little guessing the trouble rt was to give me. 
Having scaled the rocky side of the cove, we found some 
half naked Arabs lying in the shade ; they were unarmed, 
and had nothing about them except their villanous coun- 
tenances wherewith to terrify the most timid. These men 

* The word Jebel will frequently occur in these pagea It is applied 
by the Arabs to any rising ground or heap of rocks, and, therefore, 
must not always be translated " mountain." 


still live in caves, like the Shamud tribe of tradition ; they 
are still Ichthyophagi, existing without any other subsist- 
ence but what the sea affords. They were unable to pro- 
vide us with dates or milk, but they sold us a kind of fish 
called Bui, which, boiled upon the embers, proved delicious. 

Our next day was a silent and a weary one, for we were 
all heartily sick of being on board-ship. We should have 
made Yambu in the evening but for the laziness of the 
Rais. Having duly beaten him, we anchored on the open 
coast, insufficiently protected by a reef, and almost in sight 
of our destination. 

We slept upon the sands and rose before dawn, deter- 
mined to make the Rais start in time that day. A slip of 
land separated us from our haven, but the wind was foul, 
and by reason of rocks and shoals, we had to make a consi- 
derable detour. 

It was about noon on the 12th day after our departure 
from Suez, when, after slowly beating up the narrow creek 
leading to Yambu harbor, we sprang into a shore boat and 
felt new life, when bidding an eternal adieu to the 
" Golden Wire." 

I might have escaped much of this hardship and suffering 
by hiring a vessel to myself. There would then have been a 
cabin to retire into at night, and shade from the sun ; more- 
over the voyage would have lasted five, not twelve days. 
But I wished to witness the scenes on board a pilgrim 
ship, — scenes so much talked of by the Moslem palmer 
home returned. Moreover, the hire was exorbitant, ranging 
from 40?. to 50?., and it would have led to a greater expen- 
diture, as the man who can afford to take a boat must pay 
in proportion during his land journey. In these countries 
you perforce go on as you begin : to " break one's expen- 
diture," that is to say, to retrench one's expenses, is con- 
sidered all but impossible ; the prudent traveller, therefore, 
will begin as he intends to go on. 



Ya2*bu el Bahr is a place of considerable importance, and 
shares with others the title of " Gate of the Holy City." 
It is the third quarter of the caravan road from Cairo to 
Meccah; and here, as well as at El Bedr, pilgrims fre- 
quently leave behind them in hired warehouses goods too 
heavy to be transported in haste, or too valuable to risk in 
dangerous times. Yambu being the port of El Medinah, as 
Jeddah is of Meccah, is supported by a considerable trans- 
port trade and extensive imports from the harbor on the 
western coasts of the Red Sea. Here the Sultan's dominion 
is supposed to begin, whilst the authority of the Pacha of 
Egypt ceases ; there is no Nizam, however, in the town,* 
and the governor is a Sherif or Arab chief. 

The town itself is in no wise remarkable. The custom- 
house fronts the landing-place upon the harbor ; it is 
managed by Turkish officials, — men dressed in tarbooshes, 
who repose the live-long day upon the divans near the win- 
dows. In the case of us travellers they had a very simple 

* The Nizam, as Europeans now know, is the regular Turkish 


way of doing business, charging each person of the party 
three piastres for each large box, but by no means troubling 
themselves to meddle with the contents. 

The population of Yambu — one of the most bigoted and 
quarrelsome races in El Hejaz — strikes the eye after arriv- 
ing from Egypt, as decidedly a new feature. The Shaykh, 
or gentleman of Yambu, is over-armed and over-dressed as 
Fashion, the tyrant of the desert as well as of the court, 
dictates to a person of his consequence. The civilized tra- 
veller from El Medinah sticks in his waist-shawl a loaded 
pistol,* garnished with crimson silk cord, but he partially 
conceals the butt-end under the flap of his jacket. The 
irregular soldier struts down the street a small armory of 
weapons : one look at the man's countenance suffices to tell 
you what he is. Here and there stalk grim Bedouins, wild 
as their native wastes, and in all the dignity and pride of 
dirt ; they also are armed to the teeth, and even the pre- 
sence of the policeman's quarter-staff cannot keep their 
swords in their scabbards : what we should call the peace- 
ful part of the population never leave the house without a 
" nebut" (staff) over the right shoulder, and the larger, the 
longer, and the heavier the weapon is, the more gallantry 
does the bearer claim. The people of Yambu practise the 
use of this implement diligently; they become expert in 
delivering a head blow so violently as to break through 
any guard, and with it they always decide their trivial 
quarrels. The dress of the women differs but little from 
that of the Egyptians, except in the face veil, which is 
generally white. There is an independent bearing about 

* Civilians usually stick one pistol in the belt ; soldiers or fighting 
men two, or more, with all the necessary concomitants of pouches, turn- 
Bcrews, and long iron ramrods, which, opening with a screw, disclose a 
long thin pair of pincers, wherewith fire is put upon the chibouque. 


the people strange in the East ; they are proud without 
insolence, and look manly without blustering. Their walk 
partakes somewhat of the nature of a strut, owing, per- 
haps, to the shape of the sandals, not a little assisted by the 
self-esteem of the wearer, but there is nothing offensive in 
it; moreover, the population has a healthy appearance, 
and, fresh from Egypt, I could not help noticing their free- 
dom from ophthalmic disease. 

On the afternoon of the day of our arrival we sent for a 
Mukharrij,* and began to treat for camels. We agreed to 
pay three dollars for each camel, half in ready money, the 
other half after reaching our destination, and to start on 
the evening of the next day with a grain-caravan, guarded 
by an escort of irregular cavalry. I hired two animals, 
one for my luggage and servant, the other for the boy 
Mohammed and myself, expressly stipulating that we were 
to ride the better, and that if it broke down on the road, 
its place should be supplied by another as good. My 
friends could not dissemble their uneasiness, when informed 
by the Mukharrij that the Hazimi tribe was " out," and 
that travellers had to fight every day. The Daghistanis 
also contributed to their alarm. " We met," said they, 
"between two hundred and three hundred devils on a 
Razzia near El Medinah; we gave them the Salam, but 
they would not reply, although we were all on dro- 
medaries. Then they asked us if we were men of 
El Medinah, and we replied, ' Yes,' and lastly, they 
wanted to know the end of our journey ; so we said Bir 

* The Shaykh, or agent of the camels, without 'whose assistance it 
would be difficult to hire beasts. He brings the Bedouins with him, 
talks them over to fair terms, sees the " arbun," or earnest money, deli- 
vered to them, and is answerable for their not failing in their engage- 


Abbas."* The Bedouins who had accompanied the Dag- 
histanis belonged to some tribe unconnected with the 
Hazimi: the spokesman rolled his head, as much as 
to say, "Allah has preserved us!" "Sir," said Shaykh 
Nur to me, 'f.we must wait till all this is over." I told 
him to hold his tongue, and sharply reproved the boy 
Mohammed, upon whose manner the effect of finding 
himself suddenly in a fresh country had wrought a change 
for the worse. " Why ye were lions at Cairo — and here, 
at Yambu, you are cats — hens !" It was not long, how- 
ever, before the youth's impudence returned upon him with 
increased violence. 

We sat through the afternoon in the little room on the 
terrace, whose reflected heat, together with the fiery winds 
from the wilderness, seemed to incommode even my com- 
panions. After sunset we dined in the open air, a body of 
twenty : master, servants, children, and strangers. All the 
procurable rugs and pillows had been seized to make a 
divan, and we all squatted round a large cauldron of boiled 
rice, containing square masses of mutton, the whole 
covered with clarified butter. Saad the Devil was now in 
his glory. With what anecdotes the occasion supplied 
him ! — his tongue seemed to wag with a perpetual motion 
— for each man he had a boisterous greeting, and to judge 

* The not returning " Salam" was a sign on the part of the Bedouins 
that they were out to fight, and not to make friends ; and the drome- 
dary riders, who generally travel without much to rob, thought this 
behavior a declaration of desperate designs. The Bedouins asked if 
they were El Medinah men ; because the former do not like, unless 
when absolutely necessary, to plunder the people of the Holy City. 
And the Daghistanis said their destination was Bir Abbas, a neighbor- 
ing, instead of Yambu, a distant port, because those who travel on a 
long journey, being supposed to have more funds with them, are more 
likely to be molested. 


from his whisperings he must have been in every one's 
privacy and confidence. Conversation over, pipes and 
coffee was prolonged to 10 p. m. — a late hour in these 
lands ; then we prayed the Ishah,* and, spreading our mats 
upon the terrace, slept in the open air. 

The forenoon of the next day was occupied in making 
sundry small purchases. We laid in seven days' provision 
for the journey, repacked our boxes, polished and loaded 
our arms, and attired ourselves appropriately for the road. 
I bought for my own conveyance a shugduf or litter, for 
which I paid two dollars. It is a vehicle appropriated to 
women and children, fathers of families, married men, 
" Shelebis,"f and generally to those who are too effemi- 
nate to ride. My reason for choosing it was, that notes 
are more easily taken in it than on a dromedary's back ; 
the excuse of lameness prevented it detracting from my 
manhood, and I was careful when entering any populous 
place to borrow or hire a saddled beast. 

Our party dined early that day, for the camels had 
been sitting at the gate since noon. We had the usual 
trouble in loadiDg them ; the owners of the animals vocife- 
rating about the unconscionable weight, the owners of the 
goods swearing that such weight a child could carry, while 
the beasts, taking part with their proprietors, moaned 
piteously, roared, made vicious attempts to bite, and 
started up with an agility that threw the half secured 
boxes or sacks headlong to the ground. About 3 p. m. all 
was ready — the camels formed into Indian file, and were 
placed standing in the streets — but, as usual with Oriental 
travellers, all the men dispersed about the town, so we did 
not mount before it was late in the afternoon. 

I must now take the liberty of presenting to the reader 

* The night prayer. f " Exquisites." 


an Arab Shaykh, fully equipped for travelling. Nothing 
can be more picturesque than the costume, and it is with 
regret that we see it exchanged in the towns and more 
civilized parts for any other: The long locks or the shaven 
scalps are surmounted by a white cotton skull-cap, over 
which is a kufiyah — a large square kerchief of silk and 
cotton mixed, and generally of a dull red color, with a 
bright yellow border, from which depend crimson silk 
twist, ending in little tassels that reach the wearer's waist. 
Doubled into a triangle, and bound with a fillet of rope, a 
skein of yarn, or a twist of wool, the kerchief fits the head 
closely behind ; it projects over the forehead, shading the 
eyes, and thus gives a fierce look to the countenance. On 
certain occasions one end is brought round the lower part 
of the face, and is fastened behind the head, leaving only 
the eyes visible. This veiling the features is technically 
called IAsam — the chiefs generally fight so, and it is the 
usual disguise when a man fears the avenger of blood, or a 
woman starts to take her Sar* In hot weather it is sup- 
posed to keep the Simoom, in cold weather the catarrh, 
from the lungs. 

The body dress is simply a Kamis or cotton shirt ; tight 
sleeved, opening in front, and adorned round the waist and 
collar, and down the breast, with embroidery like net- 
work, it extends from neck to foot. Some wear wide 
trousers, but the Bedouins consider such things effeminate, 
and they have not yet fallen into the folly of socks and 
stockings. Over the Kamis is thrown a long skirted and 
short-sleeved cloak of camel's hair, called an Aba. It is 
made in many patterns, and of all materials from pure silk to 
coarse sheep's wool ; some prefer it brown, others white, 
others striped : in El Hejaz the favorite Aba is a white one, 

* u The " blood revenge." 


embroidered with gold, tinsel, or yellow thread in two 
large triangles, capped with broad bands and other figures 
running down the shoulders and sides of the back. It is 
lined inside the shoulders and breast with handsome stuffs 
of silk and cotton mixed, and is tied in front by elaborate 
strings, and tassels or acorns of silk and gold. A sash con- 
fines the Kamis at the waist, and supports the silver-hilted 
dagger or crooked dagger, and the picturesque Arab san- 
dal completes the costume. Finally, the Shaykh's arms are 
a matchlock slung behind his back, and a sword ; in his 
right hand he carries a light crooked stick about two feet 
and a half long, called a Mas-hab, used for guiding camels, 
or a short javelin. 

The poorer class of Arabs twist round their waist, next 
to the skin, a long plait of greasy leather, to support the 
back, and they gird the shirt at the middle merely with a 
cord, or with a coarse sash. The dagger is stuck in the 
sash, and a bandoleer slung over the shoulders carries their 
cartridge-case, powder-flask, flint and steel, priming-horn, 
and other necessaries. With the traveller, the waist is an 
elaborate affair. Below all is worn the money pouch, con- 
cealed by the Kamis ; the latter is girt with a waist shawl, 
over which is strapped a leathern belt for carrying arms. 
The latter article should always be well garnished with a 
pair of long-barrelled and silver-mounted flint pistols, a 
large and a small dagger, and an iron ramrod with pincers 
inside ; a little leathern pouch fastened to the waist strap 
on the right side contains cartridge, wadding, and a flask 
of priming powder. The sword hangs over the shoulder 
with crimson silk cords and huge tassels ; well dressed 
men apply the same showy ornaments to their pistols. In 
the hand may be carried a bell-mouthed blunderbuss, or, 
better still, a long single-barrel gun with an ounce bore. 
All these weapons must shine like silver, if you wish to 


be respected ; for attention to arms is here a sign of manli- 

Pilgrims, especially those from Turkey, carry a " Ha- 
mail," to denote their holy errand. This is a pocket Koran, 
in a handsome gold embroidered crimson velvet or red 
morocco case, slung by red silk cords over the left shoulder. 
It must hang down by the right side, and should never for 
respect depend below the waist-belt. For this I substituted 
a most useful article. To all appearance a "Hamail," it 
had inside three compartments, one for my watch and com- 
pass, the second for ready money, and the third contained 
penknife, pencils, and slips of paper, which I could hold 
concealed in the hollow of my hand. These were for writ- 
ing and drawing : opportunities of making a " fair copy" 
into the diary-book,* are never wanting to the acute tra- 
veller. He must, however, beware of sketching before the 
Bedouins, who would certainly proceed to extreme mea- 
sures, suspecting him to be a spy or a sorcerer.f Nothing 

* My diary-book was made -up for me by a Cairene : it was a long 
thin volume fitting into a breast-pocket, where it could be carried with- 
out being seen. I began by writing notes in the Arabic character, but 
as no risk appeared, my journal was afterwards kept in English. More 
than once, by way of experiment, I showed the writing on a loose slip 
of paper to my companions, and astonished them with the strange cha- 
racter derived from Solomon and Alexander, the Lord of the two Horns, 
which we Afghans still use. 

f An accident of this kind happened not long ago to a German 
traveller in the Hadramaut, who shall be nameless. He had the morti- 
fication to see his sketch-book, the labor of months, summarily appro- 
priated and destroyed by the Arabs. I was told by a Hadramaut 
man at Cairo, and by several at Aden, that the gentleman had at the 
time a narrow escape with his life ; the Bedouins wished to put him to 
death as a spy, sent by the Frank to ensorceler their country, but the 
Shaykhs forbade bloodshed, and merely deported the offender. Tra- 
vellers caught sketching are not often treated with such forbearance. 


so effectually puzzles these people as our habit of putting 
everything on paper ; their imaginations are set at work, 
and then the worst may be expected from them. The only 
safe way of writing in presence of a Bedouin would be 
when drawing out a horoscope or preparing a charm ; he 
also objects not, if you can warm his heart upon the sub- 
ject, to seeing you take notes in a book of genealogies. 
You might begin with, " And you, men of Harb, on which 
origin do you pride yourselves ?" And while the listeners 
become fluent upon the, to them, all interesting theme, 
you could put down whatever you please upon the margin. 
The towns-people are more liberal, and years ago the holy 
shrines have been drawn, and even lithographed, by Eastern 
artists : still, if you wish to avoid all suspicion, you must 
rarely be seen with pen or with pencil in hand. 

At 6 p. m. descending the stairs of our Wakalat, we 
found the camels standing loaded in the street and shifting 
their ground in token of impatience.* My shugduf, perched 
upon the back of a tall strong animal, nodded and swayed 
about with his every motion, impressing me with the idea 
that the first step would throw it over the shoulders or the 
crupper. The camel-men told me I must climb up the ani- 
mal's neck, and so creep into the vehicle. But my foot dis- 
abling me from such exertion, I insisted on their bringing 
the beast to squat, which they did grumblingly. We took 
leave of Omar Effendi's brothers and their dependents, who 
insisted on paying us the compliment of accompanying us to 
the gate. Then we mounted and started, which was a sig- 
nal for all our party to disperse once more. Some heard 
the report of a vessel having arrived from Suez, with Ma- 

* All Arabs assert that it pains the loaded camel's feet to stand still, 
and certainly the " fidgetiness " of the animal to start, looks as if he 
had some reason to prefer walking. 



hommed Shiklibah and other friends on board ; these hurried 
down to the harbor for a parting word. Others, declaring 
they had forgotten some necessaries for the way, ran off to 
the bazaar to spend one last hour in gossiping at the coffee- 
house. Then the sun set, and prayers must be said. The 
brief twilight had almost faded away before all had mounted. 
With loud cries, we threaded our way through long, dusty, 
narrow streets, flanked with white-washed habitations at 
considerable intervals, and large heaps of rubbish, sometimes 
higher than the houses. We were stopped at the gate to 
ascertain if we were strangers, in which case the guard 
would have done his best to extract a few piastres before 
allowing our luggage to pass ; but he soon perceived by my 
companions' accent, that they were sons of the Holy City — 
consequently, that the case was hopeless. The moon rose 
fair and clear, dazzling us with light as we emerged from 
the shadowy streets, and when we launched into the Desert 
the sweet air delightfully contrasted with the close offensive 
atmosphere of the town. My companions, as Arabs will do 
on such occasions, began to sing. 



On the 18th July, about 1 p. m., we passed through the 
gate of Yambu, and took a due easterly course. Our route 
lay over the plain between the mountains of Radhawh on 
the left and the sea on the right hand ; the land was desert, 
that is to say, a hard level plain, strewed with rounded lumps 
of granite and greenstone schist, with here and there a dwarf 
acacia, and a tuft of rank camel grass. By the light of a 
glorious moon nearly at its full I was able to see the coun- 
try tolerably well. 

Our little party consisted of twelve camels, and we tra- 
velled in Indian file, head tied to tail, with but one outrider, 
Omar Effendi, whose rank required him to mount a drome- 
dary with showy trappings. All the party, except Omar 
Effendi, in token of poverty, were dressed in the coarsest 
and dirtiest of clothes, — the general suit consisting of a shirt 
torn in divers places and a bit of rag wrapped round the 
head. They carried short chibouques without mouth-pieces, 
and tobacco-pouches of greasy leather. Though the coun- 
try hereabouts is perfectly safe, all had their arms in readi- 
ness, and the unusual silence that succeeded to the singing, 


(even Saad the Devil held his tongue,) was sufficient to show 
how much they feared for themselves and their property. 
After a slow march of two hours facing the moon, we turned 
somewhat towards the N. E., and began to pass over un- 
dulating ground, in which a steady rise was perceptible. We 
arrived at the halting-place at three in the morning after a 
short march of about eight hours, during which we could 
not have passed over more than sixteen miles. The camels 
were natch? d ; the boxes were taken off and piled together 
as a precaution against invisible robbers; my little tent, the 
only one in the party, was pitched ; we then spread our rugs 
upon the ground and lay down to sleep. 

We arose at about 9 a. m., and after congratulating one 
another upon being once more in the " dear Desert," we 
proceeded in exhilarated mood to light the fire for pipes and 
breakfast. The meal was soon dispatched, after which I 
proceeded to inspect our position. 

About a mile to the westward lay the little village of 
Musahlah,* a group of miserable clay hovels. On the south 
was a strip of bright blue sea, and all around, an iron plain 
producing naught but stones and grass-hoppers, bounded 
northward by a grisly wall of blackish rock. Here and 
there a shrub fit only for fuel, or a tuft of coarse grass, crisp 
with heat, met the eye. All was sun-parched ; the furious 
heat from above was drying up the sap and juice of the land, 
as the shivering and quivering atmosphere showed ; more- 
over the heavy dews of these regions, forming in large drops 
upon the plants and stones, concentrate the morning rays 

* The reader must be warned that these little villages in Arabia, as 
in Sindh and Beloehistan, are continually changing their names, whilst 
the larger settlements always retain the same. The traveller, too, must 
beware of writing down the first answer he receives ; in one of our maps 
a village on the Euphrates is gravely named " M'adri," (" Don't know.") 


upon them like a system of burning glasses. After making 
these few observations I followed the example of my com- 
panions, and went to sleep. 

At 2 p.m. we were roused to a dinner as simple as the 
breakfast had been. Our potations began before dinner 
with a vile-tasted but wholesome drink called Akit ; * at the 
meal we drank leather-flavored water, and ended with a 
large cupful of scalding tea. Enormous quantities of liquid 
were consumed, for the sun seemed to have got into our 
throats, and the perspiration trickled from us as after a 
shower of rain. Whilst we were eating, a Bedouin woman 
passed close by the tent, leading a flock of sheep and goats, 
seeing which I expressed a desire to drink milk. My com- 
panions sent by one of the camel-men a bit of bread, and 
asked in exchange for a cupful of " laban." f Thus I learned 
that the Arabs, even in this corrupt region, still adhere to 
the meaningless custom of their ancestors, who chose to 
make the term " labban " (milk-seller) an opprobrium and a 
disgrace. Possibly the origin of the prejudice might be the 
recognising of a traveller's guest-right to call for milk gratis. 
However this may be, no one will in the present day sell 
this article of consumption, even at civilized Meccah, except 
Egyptians, a people supposed to be utterly without honor. 
As a general rule in the Hejaz, milk abounds in the spring, 
but at all other times of the year it is difficult to be procured. 
The Bedouin woman managed, however, to send me back a 

At 3 p.m. we were ready to start, and all saw, with un- 

* The Arabs make it by evaporating the serous part of the milk ; 
the remainder is then formed into cakes or lumps with the hand, and 
spread upon hair cloth to dry. They eat it with clarified butter, and 
drink it melted in water. It is considered a cooling and refreshing beve- 
rage, but boasts few attractions to the stranger. 

f In Arabic and Hebrew milk. 


speakable gratification, a huge black nimbus rise and range 
itself, like a good genius, between us and our terrible foe, 
the sun. We hoped that it contained rain, but presently a 
blast of hot wind, like the breath of a volcano, blew over 
the plain, and the air was filled with particles of sand. When 
we had loaded and mounted, my coachmen, two in number, 
came up to the shugduf and demanded " bakhshish," which, 
it appears, they are now in the habit of doing each time the 
traveller starts. I was at first surprised to find the word 
here, but after a few days of Bedouin society, my wonder 
diminished. The men were Beni-Harb of the great Hejazi 
tribe, which has kept its blood pure for the last thirteen cen- 
turies, how much more we know not — but they had been 
corrupted by intercourse with pilgrims, retaining none of 
their ancestral qualities but greed of gain, revengefulness, 
pugnacity, and a frantic kind of bravery, displayed on 
rare occasions. I taunted them severely with their 
resemblance to the Fellahs of Egypt. They would have 
resented this with asperity, had it proceeded from their 
own people, but the Turkish pilgrim — the character in 
which they knew me, despite my Arab dress — is a privileged 
person. Their outer man was contemptible ; small choco- 
late-colored beings, stunted and thin, with mops of coarse 
bushy hair burned brown by the sun, straggling beards, 
vicious eyes, frowning brows, screaming voices, and well- 
made, but attenuated, limbs. On their heads were 
(kerchiefs) in the last stage of wear ; a tattered shirt, indigo- 
dyed, and girt with a bit of common rope, composed their 
brief clothing ; and their feet were protected from the stones 
by soles of thick leather, kept in place by narrow thongs 
tied to the ancle. Both were armed, one with a matchlock, 
and a Shintiyan * in a leathern scabbard, slung over the 

* The Shintiyan is the common sword-blade of the Bedouins. Ex- 
cellent weapons aboimd in this country, the reason being, that there is a 

"harami" or thieves. 159 

shoulder, the other with a nebict, and both showed at the 
waist the Arab's invariable companion, the dagger. 

Our party was now a strong one. We had about 200 
camels carrying grain, attended by their proprietors, trucu- 
lent looking as the contrabandists of the Pyrenees. The 
escort was composed of seven Irregular Turkish cavalry, 
tolerably mounted, and supplied each with an armory in 
epitome. They were privily derided by our party, who, 
being Arabs, had a sneaking fondness for the Bedouins, how- 
ever loath they might be to see them amongst the boxes. 

For three hours we travelled in a south-easterly direction 
upon a hard plain and a sandy flat, on which several waters 
from the highlands find a passage to the sea westward. 
Gradually we were siding towards the mountains, and at 
sunset I observed that we had sensibly neared them. We 
dismounted for a short halt, and, strangers being present, 
my companions said their prayers before sitting down to 
smoke — a pious exercise in which they did not engage for 
three days afterwards, when they met certain acquaintances 
at El Hamra. As evening came on, we emerged from a 
scent of acacias and tamarisk and turned due east, travers- 
ing an open country with a perceptible rise. Scarcely was 
it dark before the cry of " Harami " (thieves) rose loud in 
the rear. All the camel-men brandished their huge staves, 
and rushed back vociferating in the direction of the rob- 
bers. They were followed by all the horsemen, and truly, 
had the thieves possessed the usual acuteness of the pro- 
fession, they might have driven off the camels in our van 
with safety and convenience. But these contemptible beings 

perpetual demand for them, and when once purchased, they become 
heir-looms in the family. I have heard that when the Beni Bu Ali 
tribe, near Ras el Khaymah, was defeated with slaughter by Sir Lionel 
Smith's expedition, the victors found many valuable old European 
blades in the hands of the slain. 


were only half a dozen in number, and they had lighted 
their matchlocks, which drew a bullet or two in their direc- 
tion, whereupon they ran away. This incident aroused no 
inconsiderable excitement, for it seemed ominous of worse 
things about to happen to us when entangled in the hills, 
and the faces of my companions, perfect barometers of fair 
and foul tidings, fell to zero. For nine hours we journeyed 
through a brilliant moonlight, and as the first grey streak 
appeared in the Eastern sky we entered a scanty " misyal^ * 
or fiumara, strewed with pebbles and rounded stones, about 
half a mile in breadth, and flanked by almost perpendicular 
hills of primitive formation. I began by asking the names 
of peaks and other remarkable spots, when I found that a 
folio volume would not contain a three months' collection ; 
every hill and dale, flat, valley, and water-course here has 
its proper name or rather names. The ingenuity shown by 
the Bedouins in distinguishing between localities the most 
similar, is the result of a high organization of the perceptive 
faculties, perfected by the practice of observing a recur- 
rence of landscape features few in number and varying but 
little amongst themselves. After travelling two hours up 
this torrent bed, winding in an easterly direction, and cross- 
ing some " Harrah^ or ridges of rock, and " Ria^ steep 
descents, we found ourselves at 8 a.m., after a march of 
about thirty-four miles, at Bir Said (Said's well), our desti- 

I had been led to expect a pastoral scene, wild flowers, 
flocks, and flowing waters at the " well ;" so I looked with 
a jaundiced eye upon a deep hole full of slightly brackish 
water dug in a tamped hollow — a kind of punch-bowl with 
granite walls, upon whose grim surface a few thorns, of 
passing hardihood, braved the sun for a season. Not a 

* The dry channel of a hill water-course. 


house was in sight — it was as barren and desolate a spot as 
the sun ever " viewed in his wide career." But this is 
what the Arabian traveller must expect. He is to traverse, 
for instance, the Wady El Ward — the vale of flowers ; he 
indulges in sweet recollections of Indian lakes beautiful 
with the lotus, and Persian plains upon which narcissus is 
the meanest of grasses ; he sees a plain like tamp-work, 
where knobs of granite act daisies, and at every fifty 
yards some hapless bud or blossom dying of inanition 
among the stones. 

The sun scorched our feet as we planted the tent, and, 
after drinking our breakfast, we passed the usual day of 
perspiration and semi-lethargy. In discomfort man natu- 
rally hails a change, even though it be one from bad to 
worse. When our enemy began slanting towards the 
west, we felt ready enough to proceed on our journey. 
The camels were laden shortly after 3 p. m., and we started 
with water jars in our hands through a storm of simoom. 

We travelled five hours in a north-easterly course up a 
diagonal valley, through a country fantastic in its desola- 
tion — a mass of huge hills, barren plains, and desert vales. 
Even the sturdy acacias here failed, and in some places the 
camel grass could not find earth enough to take root in. 
The road wound among mountains, rocks, and hills of gra- 
nite, over broken ground, flanked by huge blocks and 
boulders, piled up as if man's art had aided nature to dis- 
figure herself. Vast clefts seamed like scars the hideous 
face of earth ; here they widened into dark caves, there 
they were choked up with glistening drift sand. Not a 
bird or a beast was to be seen or heard ; their presence 
would have argued the vicinity of water, and though my 
companions opined that Bedouins were lurking among the 
rocks, I decided that these Bedouins were the creatures of 
their fears. Above, a sky like polished blue steel, with a 


tremendous blaze of yellow light, glared upon us without 
the thinnest veil of mist cloud. The distant prospect, 
indeed, was more attractive than the near view, because it 
borrowed a bright azure tinge from the intervening atmo- 
sphere ; but the jagged peaks and the perpendicular streaks 
of shadow down the flanks of the mountainous background 
showed that no change for the better was yet in store for 

Between 10 and 11 p. m. we reached human habitations 
— a phenomenon unseen since we left Musahhal — in the 
long straggling village called El Hamra, from the redness 
of the sands near which it is built, or El Wasitah, the 
" half-way" village, because it is the middle station between 
Yambu and El Medinah. It is therefore considerably out 
of place in Burckhardt's map, and those who copy from it 
make it about half-way nearer the seaport than it really is. 
We wandered about nearly an hour in search of an en- 
camping place, for the surly villagers ordered us off every 
flatter bit of ground, without however deigning to show 
us where our jaded beasts might rest. At last, after much 
wrangling, we found the usual spot; the camels were 
unloaded, the boxes and baggage were disposed in a circle 
for greater security against the petty pilferers in which this 
part of the road abounds, and my companions spread their 
rugs so as to sleep upon their valuables. I placed a drawn 
sword by my side,* and a cocked pistol under my pillow ; 
the saddle-bag, a carpet spread upon the cool loose sand, 
formed by no means an uncomfortable couch, and upon it I 
enjoyed a sound sleep till daybreak. 

Rising at dawn, I proceeded to visit the village. It is 

* This act, by the by, I afterwards learned to be a great act of im- 
prudence. Nothing renders the Arab thief so active as the chance of 
stealing a good weapon. 


built upon a narrow shelf at the top of a precipitous hill to 
the North, and on the South runs a sandy Fiumara, about 
half a mile broad. On all sides are rocks and mountains, 
rough and stony; so you find yourself in another of those 
punch-bowls which the Arabs seem to consider choice sites 
for settlements. Water of good quality is readily found 
hi it by digging a few feet below the surface at the angles 
where the stream as it runs forms the deepest hollows, and 
in some places the stony sides give out bubbling springs.* 

El Hamra itself is a collection of stunted houses, or 
rather hovels, made of unbaked brick and mud, roofed over 
with palm leaves, and pierced with air holes, which occa- 
sionally boast a bit of plank for a shutter. It appears 
thickly populated in the parts where the walls are stand- 
ing, but it abounds in ruins. It is well supplied with pro- 
visions, which are here cheaper than at El Medinah. In 
the village are a few shops where grain, huge plantains, 
ready-made bread, rice, clarified butter, and other edibles, 
are to be purchased. Palm orchards of considerable extent 
supply it with dates. The bazaar is, like the generality of 
such places in Eastern villages, a long lane, here covered 
'with matting, there open to the sun, and the streets — if 
they may be so called — though narrow, are full of dust and 
glare. Near the encamping ground of caravans is a fort 
for the officer commanding a troop of Albanian cavalry, 
whose duty it is to defend the village, to hold the country, 
and to escort merchant travellers. Around the El Hamra 
fort are clusters of palm-leaf huts, where the soldiery 
lounge and smoke, and near it the usual coffee-house, a 

* Near El Hamra, at the base of the southern hills, within fire of 
the forts, there is a fine spring of sweet water. All such fountains are 
much prized by the people, who call them " rock-water," and attribute 
to them tonic and digestive virtues. 


shed kept by an Albanian. These places are frequented 
probably on account of the intense heat inside the fort. 

We passed a comfortless day at the " Red village." 
Large flocks of sheep and goats were being driven in and 
out of the place, but their surly shepherds would give no 
milk, even in exchange for bread and meat. Before break- 
fast I bought a moderately sized sheep for a dollar. Shaykh 
Hamid killed it, according to rule, and my companions 
soon prepared a feast of boiled mutton. But our day was 
especially soured by a report, that Saad, the great robber- 
chief, and his brother, were in the field ; consequently that 
our march would be delayed for some time: every half- 
hour some fresh tattle from the camp or the coffee-house 
added fuel to the fire of our impatience. 

Saad, the old man of the mountains, was described to me 
as a little brown Bedouin, contemptible in appearance, but 
remarkable for courage and ready wit. He has a keen scent 
for treachery and requires to keep it in exercise. A blood 
feud with Abdul Muttaleb, the present sherif of Meccah, 
who slew his nephew, and the hostility of several Sultans, 
has rendered his life an eventful one. He lost all his teeth 
by poison, which would have killed him, had he not in mis- 
take, after swallowing the potion, corrected it by drinking 
off a large pot of clarified butter. Since that time he has 
lived entirely upon fruits which he gathers for himself, and 
coffee which he prepares with his own hand. In Sultan 
Mohammed's time he received from Constantinople a gor- 
geous purse, which he was told to open himself, as it con- 
tained something for his private inspection. Suspecting 
treachery he gave it for this purpose to a slave, bidding him 
carry it to some distance ; the bearer was shot by a pistol 
cunningly fixed, like Rob Roy's, in the folds of the bag. 
But whether this well-known story be " true or only well 
found," it is certain that Shaykh Saad now fears the Turks, 


even " when they bring gifts." The Sultan sends or is sup- 
posed to send him presents of fine horses, robes of honor, 
and a large quantity of grain. But the Shaykh, trusting to 
his hills rather than to steeds, sells them ; he gives away the 
dresses to his slaves, and distributes the grain amongst his 
clansmen. Of his character men tell two tales ; some praise 
his charity, and call him the friend of the poor, as certainly as 
he is a foe to the rich. Others on the contrary describe him 
as cruel, cold-blooded, and notably, even among Arabs, re- 
vengeful and avaricious. The truth probably lies between 
these two extremes, but I observed that those of my compa- 
nions who spoke most highly of the robber chief when at a 
distance seemed to be in the sudorifreddi whilst under the 
shadow of his hills. 

El Hamra is the third station from El Medinah, in the 
Darb Sultani — "Sultan's" or "High Road," the westerly 
line leading to Meccah along the sea-coast. When the rob- 
bers permit, the pilgrims prefer this route to all others on 
account of its superior climate, the facility of procuring wa- 
ter and supplies, the vicinity of the sea, and the circumstance 
of its passing through " Bedr," the scene of the Prophet's 
principal military exploits. After mid-day, (on the 21st 
July,) when we had made up our minds that fate had deter- 
mined we should halt at El Hamra, a caravan arrived from 
Meccah, and the new travellers had interest to procure an 
escort and permission to proceed towards El Medinah with- 
out delay. The good news filled us with joy. A little after 
4 p. m. we urged our panting camels over the fiery sands to 
join the Meccans, who were standing ready for the march, 
on the other side of the torrent bed, and at five we started 
in an easterly direction. 

My companions had found friends and relations in the 
Meccan caravan, — the boy Mohammed's elder brother, about 
whom more anon, was of the number ; — they were full of 


news and excitement. At sunset they prayed with unction: 
even Saad and Hamid had not the face to sit their camels 
during the halt, when all around were washing, sanding 
themselves, and busy with their devotions. We then ate 
our suppers, remounted, and started once more. Shortly 
after night set in, we came to a sudden halt. A dozen dif- 
ferent reports arose to account for this circumstance, which 
was occasioned by a band of Bedouins, who had manned a 
gorge, and sent forward a "parliamentary" ordering us forth- 
with to stop. They at first demanded money to let us pass ; 
but at last, hearing that we were sons of the Holy Cities, 
they granted us transit on the sole condition that the military, 
— whom they, like Irish peasants, hate and fear, — should re- 
turn to whence they came. Upon this, our escort, 200 men, 
wheeled their horses round and galloped back to their bar- 
racks. We moved onwards, without, however, seeing any 
robbers; my camel-man pointed out their haunts, and 
showed me a small bird hovering over a place where he sup- 
posed water trickled from the rock. 

Our night's journey had no other incident. We travel- 
led over rising ground with the moon full in our faces, and 
about midnight passed through another long straggling line 
of villages, called Jadaydeh. At 4 a. m., having travelled 
about twenty-four miles due east, we encamped at Bir Abbas, 



The position of Bir Abbas exactly resembles that of El 
Hamra, except that the bulge of the hill-girt fiumara is at 
this place about two miles wide. " There are the usual 
stone forts and palm-leaved hovels for the troopers," sta- 
tioned here to hold the place and to escort travellers, with 
a coffee- shed, and a hut or two, called a bazaar, but no vil- 
lage. The encamping ground was a bed of loose sand, 
with which the violent simoom wind filled the air : not a 
tree nor a bush was in sight ; a species of hardy locust and 
swarms of flies were the only remnants of animal life. 
Although we were now some hundred feet, to judge by the 
water-shed, above the level of the sea, the mid-day sun 
scorched even through the tent ; our frail tenement was more 
than once blown down, and the heat of the sand made the 
work of repitching it a painful one. Again my companions, 
after breakfasting, hurried to the coffee-house, and returned 
one after the other with dispiriting reports. Before noon 
a small caravan which followed us came in with two dead 
bodies, — a trooper shot by the Bedouins, and an Albanian 
killed by sun-stroke, or the fiery wind. Shortly after mid- 


day a Cafila, travelling in an opposite direction, passed by 
us ; it was composed chiefly of Indian pilgrims, habited in 
correct costume, and hurrying towards Meccah in hot 
haste. They had been allowed to pass unmolested, because 
probably a pound sterling could not have been collected 
from a hundred pockets, and Saad the robber sometimes 
does a cheap good deed. But our party having valuables 
with them did not seem to gather heart from this event. 
In the evening we all went out to see some Arab Shaykhs 
who were travelling to Bir Abbas in order to receive their 
salaries. Without such douceurs, it is popularly said and 
believed, no stone walls could enable a Turk to hold El 
Hejaz against the hill men. The party looked well ; they 
were Harbis, dignified old men in the picturesque Arab 
costume, with erect forms, fierce thin features, and white 
beards, well armed, and mounted upon high-bred and 
handsomely equipped dromedaries from El Shark.* Pre- 
ceded by their half-naked clansmen, carrying spears twelve 
or thirteen feet long, garnished with single or double tufts 
of black ostrich feathers, and ponderous matchlocks, which 
were discharged on approaching the fort, they were not 
without a kind of barbaric pomp. 

Immediately after the reception of these Shaykhs, there 
was a parade of the Arnaut Irregular horse. About 500 
of them rode out to the sound of a nakus or little kettle- ' 
drum, whose puny notes strikingly contrasted with this 
really martial sight. The men, it is true, were mounted on 
lean Arab and Egyptian nags, were ragged looking as their 
clothes, and each trooper was armed in his own way, 

* El Shark, " the East," is the popular name in the Hejaz for the 
western region as far as Baghdad and Bussora, especially Nijd. The 
latter province supplies the Holy Land with its choicest horses and 


though all had swords, pistols, and matchlocks, or firelocks 
of some kind. But they rode hard as Galway squireens, 
and there was a gallant reckless look about the fellows 
which prepossessed me strongly in their favor. Their ani- 
mals, too, though notable " screws," were well trained, and 
their accoutrements were intended for use, not show. I 
watched their manoeuvres with curiosity. They left their 
cantonments one by one, and, at the sound of the tom-tom, 
by degrees formed a plump — column it could not be called 
— all huddled together in confusion. Presently the little 
kettle-drum changed its note and the parade its aspect. 
All the serried body dispersed as Light Infantry would, 
continuing their advance, now hanging back, then making 
a rush, and all the time keeping up a hot fire upon the 
enemy. At another signal they suddenly put their horses 
to full speed, and, closing upon the centre, again advanced 
in a dense mass. After three quarters of an hour parad- 
ing, sometimes charging singly, often in bodies, now to the 
right, then to the left, and then straight in front, when 
requisite halting and occasionally retreating, Parthian-like, 
the Arnauts turned en masse- towards their lines. As they 
neared them, all broke off and galloped in, ventre a terre, 
discharging their shotted guns with much recklessness 
against objects assumed to denote the enemy. But ball 
cartridge seemed to be plentiful hereabouts ; during the 
whole of this and the next day, I remarked that bullets 
were fired away in mere fun.* 

* The Albanians, delighting in the noise of musketry, notch the ball 
in order to make it sing the louder. "When fighting, they often adopt 
the excellent plan — excellent, when rifles are not procurable — of driv- 
ing a long iron nail through the bullet, and fixing its head into the 
cartridge. Thus the cartridge is strengthened, the bullet is rifled, and 
the wound which it inflicts is a fatal one. Round balls are apt to pass 
into and out of savages without killing them, and many an Afghan, 



A distant dropping of fire-arms ushered in the evening 
of our first melancholy day at Bir Abbas. This, said my 
companions, was a sign that the troops and the hill-men 
were fighting at no great distance. They communicated the 
intelligence, as if it ought to be an effectual check upon my 
impatience to proceed ; it acted, however, in the contrary 
way. I supposed that the Bedouins, after battling out the 
night, would be less warlike the next day ; the others, how- 
ever, by no means agreed in opinion with me. At Yambu 
the whole party had boasted loudly that the people of El 
Medinah could keep their Bedouins in order, and had 
twitted the boy Mohammed with their superiority in this 
respect to his townsmen, the Meccans. But now that a 
trial was impending, I saw none of the fearlessness so con- 
spicuous when the peril was only possible. The change 
was charitably to be explained by the presence of their 
valuables ; the " sahharahs," like conscience, making cowards 
of them all. But the young Meccan, who, having sent on 
his box by sea from Yambu to Jeddah, felt merry, like the 
empty traveller, would not lose the opportunity to pay off 
old scores. He taunted the Medinites till they stamped 
and raved with fury. At last, fearing some violence, and 
feeling that I was answerable for the boy's safety to his 
family, — having persuaded him to accompany me on the 
journey, — seizing him by the nape of the neck and the up] km? 
posterior portion of his nether garments, I drove him before 
me into the tent. 

That night I slept within my shugduf, for it would have 
been mere madness to lie on the open plain in a place so 
infested by banditti. The being armed is but a poor pre- 
caution near this robbers' haunt. If a man be wounded in 

after being shot or run through the body, has mortally wounded his 
English adversary before falling. 


the very act of plundering, an exorbitant sum must be paid 
for blood-money. If you kill him, even to save your life, 
then adieu to any chance of escaping destruction. I was 
roused three or four times during the night by jackals and 
dogs prowling about our little camp, and thus observed 
that my companions, who had agreed amongst themselves 
to keep watch by turns, had all fallen into a sound sleep. 
However, when we awoke in the morning, the usual inspec- 
tion of goods and chattels showed that nothing was miss- 

The next day was a forced halt, a sore stimulant to the 
traveller's ill-humor ; and the sun, the sand, the dust, the 
furious simoom, and the want of certain small supplies, 
aggravated our grievance. My sore foot had been inflamed 
by a dressing of onion skin which the Lady Maryam had 
insisted upon applying to it. Still I was resolved to push 
forward by any conveyance that could be procured, and 
oifered ten dollars for a fresh dromedary to take me on to 
El Medinah. Shaykh Hamid also declared he would leave 
his box in charge of a friend and accompany me. Saad the 
Devil flew into a passion at the idea of any member of the 
party escaping the general evil, and he privily threatened 
Mohammed to cut off the legs of any camel that ventured 
into camp. This, the boy, — who, like a boy of the world 
as he was, never lost an opportunity of making mischief, — 
instantly communicated to me, and it brought on a furious 
dispute. Saad was reproved and apologised for by the rest 
of the party, and presently he himself was pacified, prin- 
cipally, I believe, by the intelligence that no camel was to 
be hired at Bir Abbas. One of the Arnaut garrison, who 
had obtained leave to go to El Medinah, came to ask us 
it' we could mount him, as otherwise he should be obliged 
to walk the whole way. With him we debated the propriety 
of attempting a passage through the hills by one of the 


many bye-paths that traverse them ; the project was amply 
discussed, and duly rejected. 

We passed the day in the usual manner; all crowded 
together for shelter under the tent — even Mary am joined 
us, loudly informing Ali, her son, that his mother was no 
longer a woman but a man — whilst our party generally, 
cowering away from the fierce glances of the sun, were 
either eating or occasionally smoking, or were occupied in 
cooling and drinking water. About sunset-time came a 
report that we were to start that night. None could 
believe that such good was in store for us ; before sleeping, 
however, we placed each camel's pack apart, so as to be 
ready for loading at a moment's notice, and we took care 
to watch that our Bedouins did not drive their animals 
away to any distance. At last about 11 p. m., as the moon 
began to peep over the eastern wall of rock, was heard the 
glad sound of the little kettle-drum calling the Albanian 
troopers to mount and march. In the shortest possible 
time all made ready, and hurriedly crossing the sandy flat, 
we found ourselves in company with three or four caravans, 
forming one large body for better defence against the 
dreadful Hawamid. By dint of much manoeuvring, arms in 
hand — ShaykhHamid and the "Devil" took the prominent 
parts — we, though the last comers, managed to secure places 
about the middle of the line. 

We travelled that night up the fiumara in an easterly 
direction, and at early dawn found ourselves in an ill-famed 
gorge called Shuab el Haj (the "Pilgrim's Pass"). The 
loudest talkers became silent as we neared it, and their 
countenances showed apprehension written in legible cha- 
racters. Presently from the high precipitous cliff on our 
left thin blue curls of smoke, — somehow or other they 
caught every eye, — rose in the air, and instantly afterwards 
rank the loud sharp cracks of the hillmen's matchlocks, 


echoed by the rocks on the right. A number of Bedouins 
were to be seen swarming like hornets over the crests of the 
rocks, boys as well as men carrying huge weapons, and 
climbing with the agility of cats. They took up comfortable 
places in the cut-throat eminence, and began firing upon us 
with perfect convenience to themselves. It was useless to 
challenge the Bedouins to come down and fight us upon the 
plain like men ; they will do this on the eastern coast of 
Arabia, but rarely, if ever, in El Hejaz. And it was equally 
unprofitable for our escort to fire upon a foe ensconced 
behind stones. Besides which, had a robber been killed, 
the whole country would have risen to a man ; with a force 
of 3,000 or 4,000, they might have gained courage to over- 
power a caravan, and in such a case not a soul would have 
escaped. As it was, the Bedouins directed their fire 
principally against the unhappy Albanians. Some of 
these called for assistance to the party of Shaykhs that 
accompanied us from Bir Abbas, but the dignified old men, 
dismounting and squatting round their pipes in council, 
came to the conclusion that, as the robbers would probably 
turn a deaf ear to their words, they had better spare them- 
selves the trouble of speaking. We had therefore nothing 
to do but to blaze away as much powder, and to veil 
ourselves in as much smoke as possible ; the result of the 
affair was that we lost twelve men, besides camels and other 
beasts of burden. 

After another hour's hurried ride through the Wady 
Sayyalah appeared Shuhada, to which we pushed on, 

" Like nighted swain on lonely road, 
When close behind fierce goblins tread." 

Shuhada is a place which derives its name, " The Mar- 
tyrs," because here are supposed to be buried forty braves 


that fell in one of Mohammed's many skirmishes. Some 
authorities consider it the cemetery of the people of Wady 
Sayyalah. The once populous valley is now barren, and 
one might easily pass by the consecrated spot without 
observing a few ruined walls and a cluster of rude graves 
of the Bedouins, each an oval of rough stones lying beneath 
the thorn trees on the left of and a little off the road. An- 
other half hour took us to a favorite halting-place, Bir El 
Hindi,* so called from some forgotten Indian who dug a 
well there. But we left it behind, wishing to put as much 
space as we could between our tents and the nests of the 
Hamidah. Then quitting the fiumara, we struck north- 
wards into a well-trodden road running over stony rising 
ground. The heat became sickening ; here, and in the East 
generally, at no time is the sun more dangerous than 
between 8 and 9 a. m. : still we hurried on. It was not 
before 11 a. m. that we reached our destination, a rugged 
plain covered with stones, coarse gravel, and thorn trees in 
abundance, and surrounded by inhospitable rocks, pinnacle, 
shaped, of granite below, and in the upper parts fine lime- 
stone. The well was at least two miles distant, and not a 
hovel was in sight : a few Bedouin children belonging to an 
outcast tribe fed their starveling goats upon the hills. That 
night we must have travelled about twenty-two miles ; the 
direction of the road was due east, and the only remarkable 
feature in the ground was its steady rise. 

We pitched the tent under a villanous Mimosa, the 

* The Indians sink wells in Arabia for the same reason which impels 
them to dig tanks at home, — " nam ke waste," — " for the purpose of 
name ;" thereby denoting, together with a laudable desire for post- 
humous fame, a notable lack of ingenuity in securing it. For it gene- 
rally happens that before the third generation has fallen, the well and 
the tank have either lost their original names, or have exchanged them 
for newer and better ones. 


tree whose shade is compared by poetic Bedouins to the 
false friend who deserts you in your utmost need. I 
enlivened the hot dull day by a final dispute with Saad the 
Devil. His alacrity at Yambu obtained for him the loan 
of a couple of dollars : he had bought grain at El Hamra, 
and now we were near El Medinah ; still there was not a 
word about repayment. And knowing that an Oriental 
debtor discharges his debt as he pays his rent, — namely, 
with the greatest unwillingness, — and that, on the other 
hand, an Oriental creditor will devote the labor of a year 
to recovering a sixpence, I resolved to act as a native of the 
country, placed in my position, would, and by dint of sheer 
dunning and demanding pledges try to recover my property. 
About noon Saad the Devil, after a furious rush, bare-headed, 
through the burning sun, flung the two dollars down upon 
my carpet : however, he presently recovered, and, as sub- 
sequent events showed, I had chosen the right part. Had 
he not been forced to repay his debt he would have despised 
me as a "freshman," and asked for more. As it was, the 
boy Mohammed bore the brunt of unpopular feeling, my 
want of liberality being traced to his secret and perfidious 
admonitions. He supported his burden the more philo- 
sophically, because, as he notably calculated, every dollar 
saved at El Medinah would be spent under his stewardship 
at Meccah. 

At 4 p. m. we left Suwaykah, all of us in the crossest 
of humors, and travelled in a N. E. direction. So out 
of temper were my companions, that at sunset, of the 
whole party, Omar Effendi was the only one who would eat 
supper. The rest sat upon the ground, pouting, grumbling, 
and — they had been allowed to exhaust my stock of Lata- 
kia — smoking Syrian tobacco as if it were a grievance. 
Such a game at naughty children, I have seldom seen 
played even by the Oriental men. The boy Mohammed 


privily remarked to me that the camel-men's beards were 
now in his fist, — meaning that we were out of their kinsmen, 
the Harb's, reach. He soon found an opportunity to quarrel 
with them ; and, because one of his questions was not 
answered in the shortest possible time, he proceeded to 
abuse them in language which sent their hands flying in the 
direction of their swords. Despite, however, this threaten- 
ing demeanor, the youth, knowing that he now could 
safely go to any lengths, continued his ill words, and Man- 
sur's face was so comically furious, that I felt too much 
amused to interfere. At last the camel-men disappeared, 
thereby punishing us most effectually for our sport. The 
road lay up rocky hill and down stony vale ; a tripping and 
stumbling dromedary had been substituted for the usual 
one : the consequence was that we had either a totter or a 
tumble once per mile during the whole of that long night. 
In vain the now fiery Mohammed called for the assistance 
of the camel-men with the full force of his lungs : " Where 
be those owls, those oxen of the oxen, those beggars, those 
cut-off ones, those foreigners, those sons of flight ? withered 
be their hands! palsied be their fingers ! the foul mustachioed 
fellows, basest of the Arabs, that ever hammered tent-peg, 
sneaking cats, goats of El Akhfash ! Truly I will torture 
them to the torture of oil, the mines of infamy ! the cold of 
countenance ! " * The Bedouin brotherhood of the camel- 
men looked at him wickedly, muttering the while " By Al- 
lah ! and by Allah ! and by Allah ! O boy, we will flog thee 
like a hound when we catch thee in the Desert ! " Some 
days after our arrival at Medinah, Shaykh Hamid warned 

* A " cold-of-countenance" is a fool. Arabs use the word " cold " 
in a peculiar way. " May Allah refrigerate thy countenance ! " i. e. 
may it show misery and want. " By Allah, a cold speech ! " that is to 
say, a silly or an abusive tirade. 


him seriously never again to go such perilous lengths, as the 
Beni Harb were celebrated for shooting or poniarding the 
man who ventured to use even the mild epithet " O jack- 
ass ! " to them. 

The sun had risen before I shook off the lethargic 
effects of such a night. All around me were hurrying their 
camels, regardless of rough ground, and not a soul spoke a 
word to his neighbor. " Are there robbers in sight ?" 
was the natural question. " No !" replied Mohammed ; 
" they are walking with their eyes,* they will presently see 
their homes!" Rapidly we passed the Wady el Akik, of 
which a thousand pretty things have been said by the 
Arab poets. It was as " dry as summer's dust," and its 
u beautiful trees" appeared in the shape of. vegetable mum- 
mies. Half an hour after leaving the " blessed valley" we 
came to a huge flight of steps roughly cut in a long broad 
line of black scoriaceous basalt. This is called the Mudar- 
raj or flight of steps over the western ridge of the so-called 
El Harratain. It is holy ground; for the prophet spoke 
well of it. Arrived at the top we passed through a lane 
of black scoria, with steep banks on both sides, and after a 
few minutes a full view of the city suddenly opened upon us. 

We halted our beasts as if by word of command. All 
of us descended, in imitation of the pious of old, and sat 
down, jaded and hungry as we were, to feast our eyes with 
a view of the Holy City. " O Allah ! this is the Haram 
(sanctuary) of the Prophet; make it to us a protection from 
hell fire, and a refuge from eternal punishment ! O open 
the gates of thy mercy, and let us pass through them to 
the land of joy !" and " O Allah, bless the last of Prophets, 

* That is to say, they would use, if necessary, the dearest and 
noblest parts of their bodies (their eyes) to do the duty of the basest 
(i. e. their feet\ 



the seal of prophecy, with blessings in number as the stars 
of heaven, and the waves of the sea, and the sands of the 
waste — bless him, O Lord of Might and Majesty, as long as 
the corn field and the date grove continue to feed man- 
kind !'" And again, " Live for ever, O most excellent of 
Prophets ! — live in the shadow of happiness during the 
hours of night and the times of day, whilst the bird of the 
tamarisk (the dove) moaneth like the childless mother, 
whilst the west wind bloweth gently over the hills of Nejd, 
and the lightning flasheth bright in the firmament of El 
Hejaz !" Such were the poetical exclamations that rose all 
around me, showing how deeply tinged with imagination 
becomes the language of the Arab under the influence of 
strong passion or religious enthusiasm. I now understood 
the full value of a phrase in the Moslem ritual, a And when 
his (the pilgrim's) eyes fall upon the trees of El Medinah, 
let him raise his voice and bless the Prophet with the 
choicest of blessings." In all the fair view before us, 
nothing was more striking, after the desolation through 
which we had passed, than the gardens and orchards 
about the town. It was impossible not to enter into the 
spirit of my companions, and truly I believe that for some 
minutes my enthusiasm rose as high as theirs. But pre- 
sently, when we remounted, the traveller returned strong 
upon me : I made a rough sketch of the town, put ques- 
tions about the principal buildings, and in fact collected 
materials for the next chapter. 

The distance traversed that night was about twenty 
miles in a direction varying from easterly and north-east- 
erly. We reached El Medinah on the 25th July, thus 
taking nearly eight days to travel over little more than 130 
miles. This journey is performed with camels in four days, 
and a good dromedary will do it without difficulty in half 
that time. 



As we looked eastward the sun arose out of the horizon 
of low hill, blurred and dotted with small tufted trees, 
which from the morning mists gained a giant stature, and 
the earth was stained with gold and purple. Before us lay 
a spacious plain, bounded in front by the undulating ground 
of Nejd ; on the left was a grim barrier of rocks, the cele- 
brated Mount Ohod, with a clump of verdure and a white 
dome or two nestling at its base. Rightwards, broad streaks 
of lilac-colored mists were thick with gathered dew, there 
pierced and thinned by the morning rays, stretched over the 
date groves and the gardens of Kuba, which stood out in 
emerald green from the dull tawny surface of the plain. 
Below, at the distance of about two miles lay El Medinah ; 
at first sight it appeared a large place, but a closer inspec- 
tion proved the impression to be an erroneous one. A tor- 
tuous road from the Harrah to the city, wound across the 
plain and led to a tall rectangular gateway, pierced in the 
ruinous mud wall which surrounds the suburb. This is the 
u Ambari" entrance. It is flanked on the left (speaking aa 
a sketcher) by the domes and minarets of a pretty Turkish 


building, a " Takiyah," erected by the late Mohammed Ali 
for the reception of Dervish travellers ; on the right by a 
long low line of white-washed buildings garnished with ugly 
square windows, an imitation of civilised barracks. Begin- 
ning from the left hand, as we sat upon the ridge, the 
remarkable features of the town thus presented themselves 
in succession. Outside, amongst the palm-trees to the north 
of the city, were the picturesque ruins of a large old sebil, 
or public fountain, and between this and the enceinte, stood 
a conspicuous building, in the Turkish pavilion style — the 
governor's palace. ^On the north-west angle of the town 
wall is a tall white-washed fort, partly built upon an out- 
cropping mass of rock ; its ramparts and embrasures give 
it a modern and European appearance, which contrasts 
strangely with its truly Oriental history.* In the suburb 
" El Munakhah" rise the bran-new domes and minarets of 
the five mosques, standing brightly out from the dull grey 
mass of house and ground. And behind is the most easterly 
part of the city : remarkable from afar, is the gem of El 
Medinah, the four tall substantial towers, and the flashing 
green dome under which the Prophet's remains rest. Half 
concealed by this mass of buildings and by the houses of the 
town are certain white specks upon a green surface, the 
tombs that adorn the venerable cemetery of El Bakia. And 
from that point southwards began the mass of palm groves 
celebrated in El Islam as the " trees of El Medinah." The 
foreground was well fitted to set off such a view ; fields 
of black basaltic scoriae showing clear signs of a volcanic 
origin, were broken up into huge blocks and boulders, 
through which a descent, tolerably steep for camels, wound 
down into the plain. 

* In the East, wherever there is a compound of fort and city, that 
place has certainly been in the habit of being divided against itself. 


After a few minutes' rest I remounted, and slowly rode 
on towards the gate. Even at this early hour the way was 
crowded with an eager multitude coming out to meet the 
caravan. My companions preferred walking, apparently for 
the better convenience of kissing, embracing, and shaking 
hands with relations and Mends. Truly the Arabs show 
more heart on these occasions than any Oriental people I 
know ; they are of a more affectionate nature than the Per- 
sians, and their manners are far more demonstrative than 
those of the Indians. The respectable Maryam's younger 
son, a pleasant contrast to her surly elder, was weeping aloud 
for joy as he ran round his mother's camel, he standing on 
tiptoe, she bending double in vain attempts to exchange a 
kiss; and, generally, when near relatives or intimates, or 
school companions, met, the fountains of their eyes were 
opened. Friends and comrades greeted each other, regard- 
less of rank or fortune, with affectionate embraces, and an 
abundance of gestures, which neither party seemed to think 
of answering. The general mode of embracing was to throw 
one arm over the shoulder and the other round the side, 
placing the chin first upon the left and then upon the right 
collar bone, and rapidly shifting till a "jam satis" suggested 
itself to both parties. Inferiors saluted their superiors by 
attempting to kiss hands, which were violently snatched 
away ; whilst mere acquaintances gave each other a cordial 
" poignee de mains," and then raising the finger tips to their 
lips kissed them with apparent relish. 

Passing through the Bab Ambari we defiled slowly down 
a broad dusty street, and traversed the Harat, or Quarter 
of the same name, El Ambariyah, the principal one in the 
Munakhah suburb. The street was by no means remarkable 
after Cairo ; only it is rather wider and more regular than 
the traveller is accustomed to in Asiatic cities. I was asto- 
nished to see on both sides of the way, in so small a place, 


so large a number of houses too ruinous to be occupied. 
Then we crossed a bridge, — a single little round arch of 
roughly hewn stone, built over the bed of a torrent, which 
in some parts appeared about fifty feet broad, with banks 
shrouding a high and deeply indented water-mark. 

The Shaykh had preceded us early that morning, in 
order to prepare an apartment for his guests, and to receive 
the first loud congratulations and embraces of his mother 
and the daughter of his uncle.* Apparently he had not con- 
cluded this pleasing office when we arrived, for the camels 
were kneeling at least five minutes at his door, before he 
came out to offer the usual hospitable salutation. I stared 
to see the difference of his appearance this morning. The 
razor had passed over his head and face ; the former was 
now surmounted by a muslin turban of goodly size, wound 
round a new embroidered cap, and the latter, besides being 
clean, boasted of neat little mustachios turned up like two 
commas, and a well-trimmed goat's beard narrowed until it 
resembled what our grammars call an " exclamation point." 
( ! ) The dirty torn shirt, with a bit of rope round the loins, 
had been exchanged for a jubbah or outer cloak of light 
pink merino, a long-sleeved caftan of rich flowered stuff, a 
fine shirt of Halaili\ and a grand silk sash, of a plaid pat- 
tern, elaborately fringed at both ends, and wound round 
two thirds of his body for better display. His pantaloons 
were also of Halaili with tasteful edgings like a " panta- 

* Arabs, and, indeed, most Orientals, are generally received, after re- 
turning from a journey, with shrill cries of joy by all the fair part of 
the household, and this demonstration they do not like strangers to 

\ Halaili is a cotton stuff, with long stripes of white silk, a favorite 
material amongst the city Arabs. At Constantinople, where the best is 
made, the piece, which will cut into two shirts, costs about thirty 


lette's" about the ancles, and his bare and sun-burnt feet 
had undergone a thorough purification before being encased 
in new mizz* and papooshes of bright lemon-colored leather 
of the newest and most fashionable Constantinople cut. In 
one of his now delicate hands the Shaykh bore a mother-of- 
pearl rosary, token of piety, in the other a handsome pipe 
with a jasmine stick, and an expensive amber mouth-piece ; 
his tobacco pouch dangling from his waist, as well as the 
little purse in the bosom pocket of his coat, was of broad 
cloth richly embroidered with gold. In course of time I 
saw that all my companions had metamorphosed themselves 
in an equally remarkable manner. Like men of sense they 
appeared in tatters where they were, or when they wished 
to be, unknown, and in fine linen where the world judged 
their prosperity by their attire. 

The Shaykh, whose manners had changed with his dress, 
from the vulgar and boisterous to a certain staid courtesy, 
took my hand, and led me up to the majlis,\ which was 
swept and garnished with all due apparatus for the forth- 
coming reception ceremony. And behind us followed the 
boy Mohammed, looking more downcast and ashamed of 
himself than I can possibly describe ; he was still in his rags, 
and he felt keenly that every visitor staring at him would 
mentally inquire "who may that snob be?" With the 
deepest dejectedness he squeezed himself into a corner, and 
Shaykh Nur, who was foully dirty as an Indian en voyage 
always is, would have joined him in his shame, had I not 
ordered the " slave" to make himself generally useful. It is 
customary for all relations and friends to call upon the tra- 

* The " Mizz" (in colloquial Arabic Misd) are the tight-fitting inner 
slippers of soft Cordovan leather, worn as stockings inside the slipper. 

\ The majlis (" the place of sitting") is the drawing or reception 
room ; it is usually in the first story of the house, below the apartments 
of the women. 


veller the day he returns, that is to say, if amity is to 
endure. The pipes therefore stood ready filled, the divans 
were duly spread, and the coffee* was being boiled upon a 
brazier in the passage. Scarcely had I taken my place at 
the cool window sill, — it was the best in the room, — before 
the visitors began to pour in, and the Shaykh rose to wel- 
come and embrace them. They sat down, smoked, chatted 
politics, asked all manner of questions about the other way- 
farers and absent friends, drank coffee, and after an hour's 
visit, rose abruptly, and, exchanging embraces, took leave. 
The little men entered the assembly, after an accolade at 
the door, noiselessly, squatted upon the worst seats with 
polite congees to the rest of the assembly, smoked, and took 
their coffee, as it were, under protest, and glided out of the 
room as quietly as they crept in. The great people, gene- 
rally busy and consequential individuals, upon whose coun- 
tenances were written the words " well to do in the world," 
appeared with a noise that made each person in the room 
rise reverentially upon his feet, sat down with importance, 
monopolised the conversation, and, departing in a dignified 

* The coffee drank at El Medinah is generally of a good quality. In 
Egypt that beverage in the common coffee-shops is, — as required to be 
by the people who frequent those places, — " bitter as death, black as 
Satan, and hot as Jehannum." To effect this desideratum, therefore, 
they toast the grain to blackness, boil it to bitterness, and then drink 
scalding stuff of the consistency of water-gruel. At El Medinah, on the 
contrary, — as indeed in the houses of the better classes even in Egypt, — 
the grain is carefully picked, and that the flavor may be preserved, it is 
never put upon the fire until required. It is toasted too till it becomes 
yellow, not black ; and afterwards is bruised, not pounded to powder. 
The water into which it is throwu is allowed to boil up three times, 
after which a cold sprinkling is administered to clear it, and then the 
fine light-dun infusion is poured off into another pot. The Arabs sel- 
dom drink more than one cup of coffee at a time, but with many the 
time is every half hour of the day. 


manner, expected all to be standing on the occasion. The 
Holy war, as usual, was the grand topic of conversation. 
The Sultan had ordered the Czar to become a Moslem. 
The Czar had sued for peace, and offered tribute and fealty. 
But the Sultan had exclaimed, " No, by Allah ! El Islam !" 
The Czar could not be expected to take such a step without 
a little hesitation, but " Allah smites the faces of the Infi- 
dels !" Abdel Mejid would dispose of the " Moskow"* in a 
short time ; after which he would turn his victorious army 
against all the idolaters of Feringistan, beginning with the 
English, the French, and the Aroam or Greeks. Amongst 
much of this nonsense, — when applied to for my opinion, I 
was careful to make it popular, — I heard news foreboding no 
good to my journey towards Muscat. The Bedouins had 
decided that there was to be an Arab contingent, and had 
been looking forward to the spoils of Europe ; this had 
caused quarrels, as all the men wanted to go, and not a ten- 
year-old would be left behind. The consequence was, that 
this amiable people was fighting in all directions. At least 
so said the visitors, and I afterwards found out that they 
were not far wrong. 

To the plague of strangers succeeded that of children. 
No sooner did the majlis become, comparatively speaking, 
vacant, than they rushed in en masse; treading upon our 
toes, making the noise of a nursery of madlings, pulling to 
pieces everything they could lay their hands upon, and 
using language that would have alarmed an old raan-o'- 
war's-man.f In fact, no one can conceive the plague but 

* The common name for the Russians in Egypt and El Hejaz. 

f Parents and full-grown men amuse themselves with grossly abus- 
ing children, almost as soon as they can speak, in order to excite their 
rage, and to judge of their dispositions. This supplies the infant popu- 
lation with a large stock-in-trade of ribaldry. They literally lisp in 
bad language. 


those who have studied the " enfans terribles" which India 
sends home in cargoes. One urchin, scarcely three years 
old, told me that his father had a sword at home with 
which he would cut my throat from ear to ear, suiting 
the action to the word, because I objected to his perching 
upon my wounded foot. By a few taunts, I made the 
little wretch almost mad with rage ; he shook his infant fist 
at me, and then opening his enormous round black eyes to 
their utmost stretch, he looked at me, and licked his knee 
with portentous meaning. Shaykh Hamid, happening to 
come in at the moment, stood aghast at the doorway, hand 
on chin, to see the Effendi subject to such indignity, and it 
was not without trouble that I saved the offender from 
summary nursery discipline. Another scamp caught up 
one of my loaded pistols before I could snatch it out of his 
hand, and clapped it to his neighbor's head ; fortunately, it 
was on half-cock, and the trigger was a stiff one. Then a 
serious and majestic boy about six years old, with an ink- 
stand in his belt, in token of his receiving a literary educa- 
tion, seized my pipe and began to smoke it with huge 
puffs. I ventured laughingly to institute a comparison 
between his person and the pipe-stick, when he threw it 
upon the ground, and stared at me fixedly with flaming 
eyes and features distorted by anger. The cause of this 
" boldness" soon appeared. The boys, instead of being 
well beaten, were scolded with fierce faces, a mode of 
punishment which only made them laugh. They had their 
redeeming points, however ; they were manly angry boys, 
who punched one another like Anglo-Saxons in the house, 
and abroad they are always fighting with sticks and stones. 
And they examined our weapons, — before deigning to look 
at anything else, — as if eighteen instead of five had been 
the general age. 

At last I so far broke through the laws of Arab polite- 


ness as to inform my host in plain words, that I was hungry, 
thirsty, and sleepy, and that I wanted to be alone before 
visiting the Harain. The good-natured Shaykh, who was 
preparing to go out at once in order to pray at his father's 
grave, immediately brought me breakfast, lighted a pipe, 
spread a bed, darkened the room, turned out the children, 
and left me to the society I most desired — my own. I then 
overheard him summon his mother, wife, and other female 
relatives into the store-room, where his treasures had been 
carefully stored away. During the forenoon, in the pre- 
sence of the visitors, one of Hamid's uncles had urged him, 
half jocularly, to bring out the sahharah. The Shaykh 
did not care to do anything of the kind. Every time a 
new box is opened in this part of the world, the owner's 
generosity is appealed to by those whom a refusal offends, 
and he must allow himself to be plundered with the best 
possible grace. Hamid therefore prudently suffered all to 
depart before exhibiting his spoils ; which, to judge by the 
exclamations of delight which they elicited from feminine 
lips, proved a satisfactory collection to those concerned. 

After sleeping, we all set out in a body to the Haram, 
as this is a duty which must not be delayed by the pious. 
The boy Mohammed was in better spirits, — the effect of 
having borrowed, amongst other articles of clothing, an 
exceedingly gaudy embroidered coat from Shaykh Hamid. 
As for Shaykh Nur, he had brushed up his tarboosh, and, 
by means of some cast-off dresses of mine, had made him- 
self look like a respectable Abyssinian slave, in a nonde- 
script toilette, half Turkish, half Indian. I propose to 
reserve the ceremony of ziyarat, or visitation, for another 
chapter, and to conclude this with a short account of our 
style of living at the Shaykh's hospitable house. 

Hamid's abode is a small corner building, open on the 
north and east to the Barr El Munakhah : the ground floor 


(contains only a kind of vestibule, in which coarse articles, 
like old shugdufs, mats and bits of sacking are stowed 
away; the rest is devoted to purposes of sewerage. As- 
cending dark winding steps of ragged stone covered with 
hard black earth, you come to the first floor, where the 
men live. It consists of two rooms to the front of the 
house, one a majlis or sitting room, and another converted 
into a store. Behind them is a dark passage, into which 
the doors open ; and the back part of the first story is a 
long windowless room, containing a hanafiyah,* and other 
conveniences for purification. The kitchen is on the second 
floor, which I did not inspect, it being as usual occupied by 
the Harem. The majlis has dwarf windows, or rather 
apertures in the northern and eastern walls, with rude 
wooden shutters and reed blinds — the embrasures being 
garnished with cushions, where you sit, morning and 
evening, to enjoy the cool air; the ceiling is of date 
sticks laid across palm rafters stained red, and the walls 
are of rough scoriae, burnt bricks, and wood-work cemented 
with lime. The only signs of furniture in the sitting-room 
are a diwanf round the sides and a carpet in the centre. 
A huge wooden box, like a seaman's chest, occupies one of 
the corners. In the southern wall there is a suffieh, or little 
shelf of common stone, supported by a single arch ; upon 

* The Hanafiyah is a large vessel of copper, sometimes tinned, with 
a cock in the lower part, and, generally, an ewer, or a basin, to receive 
the water. 

f The diwan is a line of flat cushions ranged round the room, 
either placed upon the ground, or on wooden benches, or on a step of 
masonry, varying in height according to the fashion of the day. Cot- 
ton-stuffed pillows, covered with chintz for summer, and silk for win- 
ter, are placed against the wall, and can be moved to make a luxurious 
heap ; their covers are generally all of the same color, except those at 
the end. 


this are placed articles in hourly use, perfume-bottles, 
coffee-cups, a stray book or two, and sometimes a turban, 
to be out of the children's way. Two hooks on the western 
wall, placed jealously high up, support a pair of pistols with 
handsome crimson cords and tassels, and half a dozen 
cherry-stick pipes. 

The passage, like the stairs, is spread over with hard 
black earth, and regularly watered twice a day during hot 
weather. The household consisted of Hamid's mother, 
wife, some nephews and nieces, small children who ran 
about in a half wild and more than half nude state, and 
two African slave girls. When the Damascus caravan came 
in, it was further reinforced by the arrival of his three 
younger brothers. 

The majlis was tolerably cool during the early part of 
the day ; in the afternoon the sun shone fiercely upon it. I 
have described the establishment at some length as a speci- 
men of how the middle classes of society are lodged at El 
Medinah. The upper classes affect Turkish and Egyptian 
luxuries in their homes, as I had an opportunity of seeing at 
Omar Effendi's house in the "Barr;" and the abodes of the 
poorer classes are everywhere in these countries very similar. 

Our life in Shaykh Hamid's house was quiet, but not 
disagreeable. I never once set eyes upon the face of 
woman there, unless the African slave girls be allowed the 
title. Even these at first attempted to draw their ragged 
veils over their sable charms, and would not answer the 
simplest question ; by degrees they allowed me to see them, 
and they ventured their strange voices to reply to me ; still 
they never threw off a certain appearance of shame.* I 

* Their voice? are strangely soft and delicate, considering the ap- 
pearance of the organs from which they proceed. Possibly this may be 
a characteristic of the African races; it is remarkable amongst the 
Somali women. 


never saw, nor even heard, the youthful mistress of the 
household, who stayed all day in the upper rooms. The 
old lady, Hamid's mother, would stand upon the stairs, and 
converse aloud with her son, and when few people were 
about the house with me. She never, however, as after- 
wards happened to an ancient dame at Meccah, came and 
sat by my side. When lying during mid-day in the gallery, 
I often saw parties of women mount the stairs to the Gy- 
nmconitis, and sometimes an individual would stand to 
shake a muffled hand * with Hamid, to gossip a while, and 
to put some questions concerning absent friends ; but they 
were most decorously wrapped up, nor did they ever deign 
to deroger, even by exposing an inch of cheek. 

At dawn we arose, washed, prayed, and broke our fast 
upon a crust of stale bread, before smoking a pipe, and 
drinking a cup of coffee. Then it was time to dress, to 
mount, and to visit the Haram in one of the holy places 
outside the city. Returning before the sun became intole- 
rable, we sat together, and with conversation, shishas, and 
chibouques, coffee and cold water perfumed with mastich- 
smoke, we whiled away the time till an early dinner which 
appeared at the primitive hour of 1 1 a. m. The meal, here 
called El Ghada, was served in the majlis on a large copper 
tray, sent from the upper apartments. Ejaculating " Bis- 
millah" — the Moslem grace — we all sat round it, and dipped 
equal hands into the dishes set before us. We had usually un- 
leavened bread, different kinds of meat and vegetable stews, 
and at the end of the first course plain boiled rice, eaten 
with spoons ; then came the fruits, fresh dates, grapes, and 

* After touching the skin of a strange woman, it is not lawful in El 
Islam to pray without ablution. For this reason, when a fair dame 
shakes hands witli you, she wraps up her fingers in a kerchief, or in the 
end of her veil. 


pomegranates. After dinner I used invariably to find some 
excuse — such as the habit of a " Kaylulah" (mid-day siesta)* 
or the being a " Saudawi"f or person of melancholy tem- 
perament, to have a rug spread in the dark passage behind 
the majlis, and there to lie reading, dozing, smoking or 
writing, en cachette, in complete deshabille all through the 
worst part of the day, from noon to sunset. Then came 
the hour for receiving or paying visits. The evening 
prayers ensued, either at home or in the Haram, followed 
by our supper, another substantial meal like the dinner, but 
more plentiful, of bread, meat, vegetables, plain rice and 
fruits, concluding with the invariable pipes and coffee. To 
pass our soiree, we occasionally dressed in common clothes, 
shouldered a nebtitj and went to the cafe ; sometimes on 

* Kaylulah is the half hour's siesta about noon. It is a Sunnat, and 
the Prophet said of it, " Kilu, fa inna 'sh'Shayatina la Takil," — " Take 
the mid-day siesta, for, verily, the devils sleep not at this hour." " Ay- 
lulah" is the sleeping after morning prayers, which causes heaviness and 
inability to work. Ghayulah is the sleeping about 9 a. m., the effect 
of which is poverty and wretchedness. Kaylulah (with the guttural kaf) 
is sleeping before evening prayers, a practice reprobated in every part 
of the East. And, finally, Faylulah is sleeping immediately after sun- 
set, — also considered highly detrimental. 

f The Arabs, who suffer greatly from melancholia, are kind to peo- 
ple afflicted with this complaint ; it is supposed to cause a distaste for 
society, and a longing for solitude, an unsettled habit of mind, and a 
neglect of worldly affairs. Probably it is the effect of overworking the 
brain, in a hot dry atmosphere. I have remarked, that in Arabia stu- 
dents are subject to it, and that amongst their philosophers and literary 
men, there is scarcely an individual who was not spoken of as a " Saudawi." 

\ This habit of going out at night in common clothes, with a nebiit 
upon one's shoulder, is, as far as I could discover, popular at El Medinah, 
but confined to the lowest classes at Meccah. The boy Mohammed 
always spoke of it with undisguised disapprobation. During my stay 
at Meccah, I saw no such cotusme amongst respectable people there; 
though sometimes, perhaps, there was a suspicion of a disguise. 


festive occasions we indulged in a Taatumah (or Itmiyah), 
a late supper of sweetmeats, pomegranates and dried fruits. 
Usually we sat upon mattresses spread upon the ground in 
the open air at the Shaykh's door, receiving evening visits, 
chatting, telling stories, and making merry, till each, as he 
felt the approach of the drowsy god, sank down into his 
proper place, and fell asleep. 

Whatever may be the heat of the day, the night at El 
Medinah, owing, I suppose, to its elevated position, is cool 
and pleasant. In order to allay the dust, the ground before 
the Shaykh's door was watered every evening, and the 
evaporation was almost too great to be safe, — the boy 
Mohammed suffered from a smart attack of lumbago, 
which, however, yielded readily to frictions of olive oil in 
which ginger had been boiled. Our greatest inconvenience 
at night time was the pugnacity of the animal creation. 
The horses of the troopers tethered in the Barr were sure 
to break loose once in twelve hours. Some hobbled old 
nag, having slipped his head-stall, would advance with 
kangaroo-leaps towards a neighbor against whom he had a 
private grudge. Their heads would touch for a moment ; 
then came a snort and a whining, a furious kick, and lastly, 
a second horse loose and dashing about with head and tail 
viciously cocked. This was the signal for a general break- 
ing of halters and heel-ropes ; after which a " stampedo" 
scoured the plain, galloping, rearing, kicking, biting, snort- 
ing, pawing, and screaming, with the dogs barking sympa- 
thetically, and the horse-keepers shouting in hot pursuit. 
It was a strange sight to see by moon-light, the forms of 
these " demon steeds" exaggerated by the shadows ; and on 
more than one occasion we had all to start up precipitately 
from our beds, and yield them to a couple of combatants 
who were determined to fight out their quarrel d Poutrance, 
wherever the battle-lield might be. 


The dogs at El Medinah are not less pugnacious than 
the horses.* They are stronger and braver than those that 
haunt the streets at Cairo ; like the Egyptians, they have 
amongst themselves a system of police regulations, which 
brings down all the jiosse comitatus upon the unhappy 
straggler who ventures into a strange quarter of the town. 

There are certain superstitions about the dog resem- 
bling ours, only, as usual, more poetical and less grotesque, 
current in El Hejaz. Most people believe that when the 
animal howls without apparent cause in the neighbor- 
hood of a house, it forebodes death to one of the inmates. 
For the dog they say can distinguish the awful form of 
Azrael, the angel of death, hovering over the doomed 
abode, whereas man's spiritual sight is dull and dim by 
reason of his sins. 

When the Damascus caravan entered El Medinah, our 
day became a little more amusing. From the windows of 
Shaykh Hamid's house there was a perpetual succession of 
strange scenes. A Persian nobleman, also, had pitched his 
tents so opportunely near the door, that the whole course 
of his private life became public and patent to the boy 
Mohammed, who amused his companions by reporting all 
manner of ludicrous scenes. The Persian's wife was rather 
a pretty woman, and she excited the youth's fierce indigna- 
tion, by not veiling her face when he gazed at her, — there- 
by showing that, as his beard was not grown, she con- 
sidered him a mere boy. " I will ask her to marry me," 
said Mohammed, " and thereby rouse her shame ! " He did 
so, but, unhappy youth ! the Persian never even ceased fan- 
ning herself. The boy Mohammed was for once confounded. 

* Burckhardt remarks that El Medinah is the only town in the East 
from which dogs are excluded. This was probably as much a relic of 
"Wahhabeism (that sect hating even to look at a dog), as arising from 
apprehension of the mosque being polluted by canine intrusion. 




Having performed the greater ablution, and used the tooth- 
stick as directed, and dressed ourselves in white clothes, 
which the prophet loved, we were ready to start upon our 
holy errand. As my foot still gave me great pain, Shaykh 
Hamid sent for a donkey. A wretched animal appeared, 
raw-backed, lame of one leg, and wanting an ear, with 
accoutrements to match, and pack-saddle without stirrups, 
and a halter instead of a bridle. Such as the brute was, 
however, I had to mount it, and to ride through the Misri 
gate, to the wonder of certain Bedouins, who, like the 
Indians, despise the ass. 

" Honorable is the riding of a horse to the rider, 
But the mule is a dishonor, and the ass a disgrace," 

says their song. The Turkish pilgrims, however, who 
appear to take a pride in ignoring all Arab points of pre- 
judice, generally mount donkeys when they cannot walk. 
The Bedouins therefore settled among themselves, audibly 
enough, that I was an Osmanli, who of course could not 


understand Arabic, and put the question generally, "by 
what curse of Allah they had been subjected to ass- 

But Shaykh Hamid is lecturing me upon the subject of 
the mosque. 

The Masjid El Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, is one 
of the Haramain, or the " two sanctuaries" of El Islam, and 
is the second of the three* most venerable places of wor- 
ship in the world ; the other two being the Masjid El 
Haram of Meccah (connected with Abraham) and the 
Masjid El Aksa of Jerusalem (the peculiar place of Solo- 
mon). A Hadis or traditional saying of Mohammed 
asserts, " One prayer in this my mosque is more efficacious 
than a thousand in other places, save only the Masjid El 
Haram."f It is therefore the visitor's duty, as long as he 
stays at El Medinah, to pray the five times per diem there, 
to pass the day in it reading the Koran, and the night, if 
possible, in watching and devotion. 

A visit to the Masjid El Nabawi, and the holy spots 
within it, is technically called " Ziyarat" or Visitation. An 
essential difference is made between this rite and Hajj 
pilgrimage. The latter is obligatory by Koranic order 
upon every Moslem once in his life : the former is only a 
meritorious action. " Tawafj'' or circumambulation of the 
House of Allah at Meccah, must never be performed at 
the Prophet's tomb. This should not be visited in the ihram 
or pilgrim dress ; men should not kiss it, touch it with the 
hand, or press the bosom against it, as at the Kaabah ; or 
rub the face with dust collected near the sepulchre ; and 

* Others add a fourth, namely, the Masjid El Takwa, at Kuba. 

f The Moslem divines, however, naively remind their readers, that 
they are not to pray once in the El Medinah mosque, and neglect the 
other 999, as if absolved from the necessity of them. 


those who prostrate themselves before it, like certain 
ignorant Indians, are held to be guilty of deadly sin. On 
the other hand, to spit upon any part of the mosque, or to 
treat it with contempt, is held to be the act of an infidel. 

Thus learning and the religious have settled, one would 
have thought, accurately enough the spiritual rank and dig- 
nity of the Masjid El Nabawi. But mankind, especially in 
the East, must always be in extremes. The orthodox school 
of El Malik holds El Medinah, on account of the sanctity of, 
and the religious benefits to be derived from Mohammed's 
tomb, more honorable than Meccah. The Wahhabis, on the 
other hand, rejecting the intercession of the Prophet on the 
day of judgment; considering the grave of a mere mortal 
unworthy of notice ; and highly disgusted by the idolatrous 
respect paid to it by certain foolish Moslems, plundered the 
sacred building with sacrilegious violence, and forbade visi- 
tors from distant countries to enter El Medinah.* The 
general consensus of El Islam admits the superiority of the 
Bait Allah ("House of God") at Meccah to the whole 
world, and declares El Medinah to be more venerable than 
every part of Meccah, and consequently all the earth, except 
only the Bait Allah. 

Passing through the muddy streets, — they had been 
freshly watered before evening time, — I came suddenly upon 
the mosque. Like that at Meccah the approach is choked 
up by ignoble buildings, some actually touching the holy 
" enceinte," others separated by narrow lanes. There is no 
outer front, no general aspect of the Prophet's mosque ; con- 
sequently, as a building, it has neither beauty nor dignity. 
And entering the Bab el Rahmah — the Gate of Pity, — by a 

* In a.d. 1807, they prevented Ali Bey (the Spaniard Badia) from 
entering El Medinah, and it appears that he had reason to congratulate 
himself upon escaping without severe punishment. 


diminutive flight of steps, I was astonished at the mean and 
tawdry appearance of a place so universally venerated in 
the Moslem world. It is not, like the Meccan mosque, 
grand and simple — the expression of a single sublime idea : 
the longer I looked at it, the more it suggested the resem- 
blance of a museum of second-rate art, a curiosity-shop, full 
of ornaments that are not accessories, and decorated with 
pauper splendor. 

The Masjid el Nabi is a parallelogram about 420 feet in 
length by 340 broad, the direction of the long walls being 
nearly north and south. As usual in El Islam, it is a hypsethral 
building with a spacious central area, called El Sahn, El 
Hosh, El Haswah, or El Ramlah, surrounded by a peristyle 
with numerous rows of pillars like the colonnades of an 
Italian monastery. Their arcades or porticoes are flat- 
ceilinged, domed above with the small half-orange cupola of 
Spain, and divided into four parts by narrow passages, three 
or four steps below the level of the pavement. Along the 
whole inner length of the northern short wall runs the Mejidi 
Riwak, so called from the reigning sultan. The western 
long wall is occupied by the Kiwak of the Rahmah Gate ; 
the eastern by that of the Bab el Nisa, the " women's en- 
trance."* Embracing the inner length of the southern short 
wall, and deeper by nearly treble the amount of columns, 
than the other porticoes, is the main colonnade, called El 
Rauzah, the adytum containing all that is venerable in the 
building. These four riwaks, arched externally, are sup- 
ported internally by pillars of different shape and material, 
varying from fine porphyry to dirty plaster; the southern 
one, where the sepulchre or cenotaph stands, is paved with 
handsome slabs of white marble and marquetry work, here 

* This gate derives its peculiar name from its vicinity to the Lady 
Fatimah's tomb ; women, when they do visit the mosque, enter it through 
all the doors indifferently. 


and there covered with coarse matting, and above this by 
unclean carpets, well worn by faithful feet.* 

But this is not the time for Tafarruj, or lionising; Shaykh 
Hamid warns me with a nudge, that other things are 
expected of a Zair. He leads me to the Bab el Salam, 
fighting his way through a troop of beggars, and inquires 
markedly if I am religiously pure. Then, placing our hands 
a little below and on the left of the waist, the palm of the 
right covering the back of the left, in the position of prayer, 
and beginning with the right feet, \ we pace slowly forwards 
down the line called the Muwajihat el Sharifah, or " the 
Holy Fronting," which, divided off like an aisle, runs parallel 
with the southern wall of the mosque. On my right hand 
walked the Shaykh, who recited aloud the following prayer, 
which I repeated after him.§ It is literally rendered, as, in- 
deed, are all the formulae, and the reader is requested to 
excuse the barbarous fidelity of the translation. " In the 
name of Allah and in the Faith of Allah's Prophet ! O 
Lord cause me to enter the entering of Truth, and cause me 
to issue forth the issuing of Truth, and permit me to draw 
near to thee, and make me a Sultan Victorious ! " || Then 

* These carpets are swept by the eunuchs, who let out the office for a 
certain fee to pilgrims, every morning, immediately after sunrise. Their 
diligence, however, does by no means prevent the presence of certain 
little parasites, concerning which politeness is dumb. 

•j- Because if not pure, ablution is performed at the well in the centre 
of the hypsethra. Zairs are ordered to visit the mosque perfumed and 
in their best clothes, and the Hanafi school deems it lawful on this 
occasion only to wear dresses of pure silk. 

\ In this mosque, as in all others, it is proper to enter with the right 
foot, and retire with the left. 

§ I must warn the reader that almost every Muzzawwir has his own 
litany, which descends from father to son : moreover all the books differ 
at least as much as do the oral authorities. 

|| That is to say, " over the world, the flesh, and the devil." 


followed blessings upon the Prophet, and afterwards ; " O 
Allah ! open to me the doors of thy mercy, and grant me 
entrance into it, and protect me from the Stoned Devil!" 

During this preliminary prayer we had passed down two 
thirds of the Muwajihat el Sharifah. On the left hand is a 
dwarf wall, about the height of a man, painted with arabes- 
ques, and pierced with four small doors which open into the 
Muwajihat. In this barrier are sundry small erections, the 
niche called the Mihrab Sulaymani,* the Mambar, or pulpit, 
and the Mihrab el Nabawi.f The two niches are of beauti- 
ful mosaic, richly worked with various colored marbles, and 
the pulpit is a graceful collection of slender columns, elegant 
tracery, and inscriptions admirably carved. Arrived at the 
western small door in the dwarf wall, we entered the cele- 
brated spot called El Rauzah, or the Garden, after a saying 
of the Prophet's, " between my Tomb and my Pulpit is a 
Garden of the Gardens of Paradise."! On the north and 

* This by strangers is called the Masalla Shafei, or the Place of 
Prayer of the Shafei school. It was sent from Constantinople about 100 
years ago, by Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. He built the Sulay- 
maniyah minaret, and has immortalised his name at El Medinah, as well 
as at Meccah, by the number of his donations to the shrine. 

f Here is supposed to have been one of the Prophet's favorite sta- 
tions of prayer. It is commonly called the Musalla Hanafi, because now 
appropriated by that school. 

\ This tradition, like most others referring to events posterior to the 
Prophet's death, is differently given, and so important are the variations, 
that I only admire how all El Islam does not follow Wahhabi example 
and summarily consign them to oblivion. Some read "between my 
dwelling-house (in the mosque) and my place of prayer (in the Barr el 
Munakhah) is a Garden of the Gardens of Paradise. Others again, 
" between my house and my pulpit is a Garden of the Gardens of Para- 
dise." A third tradition — "Between my tomb and my pulpit is a 
Garden of the Gardens of Paradise, and verily my pulpit is in my Full 
Cistern." Tara, or " upon a Full Cistern of the Cisterns of Paradise," 
has given rise to a new superstition. " Tara," according to some com- 


west sides it is not divided from the rest of the portico ; on 
the south lies the dwarf wall, and on the east it is limited by 
the west end of the lattice-work containing the tomb. Ac- 
companied by my Muzawwir I entered the Rauzah, and was 
placed by him with the Mukabbariyah * behind me, fronting 
Meccah, with my right shoulder opposite to and about 
twenty feet distant from the dexter pillar of the Prophet's 
Pulpit.f There, after saying the afternoon prayers,^ I per- 
formed the usual two prostrations in honor of the temple,§ 

mentators, alludes especially to the cistern El Kausar; consequently 
this Rauzah is, like the black stone at Meccah, bond fide, a bit of Para- 
dise, and on the day of resurrection, it shall return bodily to the place 
whence it came. Be this as it may, all Moslems are warned that the 
Rauzah is a most holy spot. None but the Prophet and his son-in-law 
Ali ever entered it, when ceremonially impure, without being guilty of 
deadly sin. The Mohammedan of the present day is especially informed 
that on no account must he here tell lies in it, or even perjure himself. 
Thus the Rauzah must be respected as much as the interior of the Bait 
Allah at Meccah. 

* This is a stone desk on four pillars, where the Muballighs (or 
clerks) recite the Ikdrnah, the call to divine service. 

f I shall have something to say about this pulpit when entering into 
the history of the Haram. 

\ The afternoon prayers being Farz, or obligatory, were recited, be- 
cause we feared that evening might come on before the ceremony of 
Ziydrat (visitation) concluded, and thus the time for El Asr (afternoon 
prayers) might pass away. The reader may think this rather a curious 
forethought in a man who, like Hamid, never prayed except when he 
found the case urgent. Such, however, is the strict order, and my 
Musawwir was right to see it executed. 

§ This two-prostration prayer, which generally is recited in honor 
of the mosque, is here, say divines, addressed especially to the Deity by 
the visitor who intends to beg the intercession of his Prophet. It is 
only just to confess that the Moslems have done their best by all means 
in human power, here as well as elsewhere, to inculcate the doctrine of 
eternal distinction between the creature and the creator. Many of the 
Maliki school, however, make the ceremony of Ziyarat to precede the 
prayer to the Deity. 


and at the end of them recited the 109th and the 112th 
chapters of the Koran — the " Kul ya ayyuha'l Kafiruna," 
and the " Surat El Ikhlas," called also the " Kul Huw 
Allah," or the declaration of unity ; and may be thus trans- 
lated : 

1. " Say, he is the one God !" 

2. "The eternal God!" 

3. " He begets not, nor is he begot." 

4. " And unto him the like is not." 

After which was performed a single Sujdah of thanks,* 
in gratitude to Allah for making it my fate to visit so holy 
a spot. This being the recognised time to give alms, I was 
besieged by beggars, who spread their napkins before us on 
the ground sprinkled with a few coppers to excite gene- 
rosity. But not wishing to be distracted by them, before 
leaving Hamid's house I had asked change of two dollars, 
and had given it to the boy Mohammed, who accompanied 
me, strictly charging him to make that sum last all through 
the mosque. My answer to the beggars was a reference to 
my attendant, backed by the simple action of turning my 
pockets inside out, and whilst he was battling with the 
beggars, I proceeded to cast my first coup-cftceil upon the 

The " Garden" is the most elaborate part of the mosque. 
Little can be said in its praise by day, when it bears the 
same relation to a second-rate church in Rome as an English 
chapel-of-ease to Westminster Abbey. It is a space of about 
eighty feet in length, tawdrily decorated so as to resemble 
a garden. The carpets are flowered, and the pediments of 
the columns are cased with bright green tiles, and adorned 

* The Sujdah is a single " prostration" with the forehead touching 
the ground. It is performed from a sitting position, after the Dua or 
supplication that concludes the two-prostration prayer. 


to the height of a man with gaudy and unnatural vegetation 
in arabesque. It is disfigured by handsome branched cande- 
labras of cut crystal, the work, I believe, of a London house, 
and presented to the shrine by the late Abbas Pacha of 
Egypt.* The only admirable feature of the view is the light 
cast by the windows of stained glassf in the southern wall. 
Its peculiar background, the railing of the tomb, a splendid 
filagree-work of green and polished brass, gilt or made to 
resemble gold, looks more picturesque near than at a dis- 
tance, when it suggests the idea of a gigantic bird-cage. 
But at night the eye, dazzled by oil lamps suspended from 
the roof, J by huge wax candles, and by smaller illuminations 
falling upon crowds of visitors in handsome attire, with the 
rich and the noblest of the city sitting in congregation when 
service is performed, becomes less critical. Still the scene 
must be viewed with a Moslem's spirit, and until a man is 
thoroughly embued with the East, the last place the Rauzah 
will remind him of, is that which the architect primarily 
intended it to resemble — a garden. 

Then with Hamid, professionally solemn, I reassumed 
the position of prayer, as regards the hands ; and retraced 
my steps. After passing through another small door in the 
dwarf wall that bounds the Muwajihah, we did not turn to 
the right, which would have led us to the Bab El Salam ; 
our course was in an opposite direction, towards the eastern 
wall of the temple. Meanwhile we repeated " Verily Allah 
and his Angels bless§ the Prophet ! O ye who believe, bless 

* The candles are still sent from Cairo. 

f These windows are a present from Kaid-bey, the Mamluk Sultan 
of Egypt. 

\ These oil lamps are a present from the Sultan. 

§ The act of blessing the Prophet is one of peculiar efficacy in a reli- 
gious point of view. Cases are quoted of sinners being actually snatched 
from hell by a glorious figure, the personification of the blessings which 


him, and salute him with honor!" At the end of this 
prayer, we arrived at the Mausoleum, which requires some 
description before the reader can understand the nature of 
our proceedings there. 

The Hujrah, or " Chamber" as it is called, from the cir- 
cumstance of its having been Ayisha's room, is an irregular 
square of from 50 to 55 feet in the S. E. corner of the build- 
ing, and separated on all sides from the walls of the mosque 
by a passage about 26 feet broad on the S. side, and 20 on 
the eastern. The reason of this isolation has been before 
explained, and there is a saying of Mohammed's, " O Allah 
cause not my tomb to become an object of idolatrous ado- 
ration ! May Allah's wrath fall heavy upon the people who 
make the tombs of their prophets places of prayer !"* Inside 
there are, or are supposed to be, three tombs facing the 

had been called down by them upon Mohammed's head. This most 
poetical idea is borrowed, I believe from the ancient Guebres, who 
fabled that a man's good works assumed a beautiful female shape, which 
stood to meet his soul when winding its way to judgment. Also when 
a Moslem blesses Mohammed at El Medinah, his sins are not written 
down for three days, — thus allowing ample margin for repentance, — by 
the recording angel. El Malakain (the two Angels), or Kiram el Kati- 
bin (the Generous Writers), are mere personifications of the good prin- 
ciple and the evil principle of man's nature : they are fabled to occupy 
each a shoulder, and to keep a list of words and deeds. This is certainly 
borrowed from a more ancient faith. In Hermas II. (command 6), we 
are told that " every man has two angels, one of godliness the other of 
iniquity," who endeavor to secure his allegiance, — a superstition seem- 
ingly founded upon the dualism of the old Persians. Mediaeval Europe, 
which borrowed so much from the East at the time of the Crusades, 
degraded these angels into good and bad fairies for children's stories. 
* Yet Mohammed enjoined his followers to frequent grave-yards. 
"Visit graves ; of a verity they shall make you think of futurity !" and 
again, "Whoso visiteth the grave of his two parents every Friday, or 
one of the two, he shall be written a pious child, even though he might 
have been in the world, before that, disobedient to them." 


south, surrounded by stone walls without any aperture, or, 
as others say, by strong planking.* Whatever this material 
may be, it is hung outside with a curtain, somewhat like a 
large four-post bed. The outer railing is separated by a 
dark narrow passage from the inner one, which it surrounds, 
and is of iron filagree painted of a vivid grass green, — with 
a view to the garden, — whilst carefully inserted in the ver- 
dure, and doubly bright by contrast, is the gilt or burnished 
brass work forming the long and graceful letters of the Suls 
character, and disposed into the Moslem creed, the pro- 
fession of unity, and similar religious sentences. On the 
south side, for greater honor, the railing is plated over 
with silver, and silver letters are interlaced with it. This 
fence, which connects the columns and forbids passage to 
all men, may be compared to the baldacchino of Roman 
churches. It has four gates : that to the south is the Bab 
el Muwajihah ; eastward is the gate of our Lady Fatimah ; 
westward the Bab el Taubah, (of repentance,) opening into 
the Rauzah or garden, and to the north, the Bab el Shami 
or Syrian gate. They are constantly kept closed, except 
the fourth, which admits, into the dark narrow passage 
above alluded to, the officers who have charge of the trea- 
sures there deposited, and the eunuchs who sweep the floor, 
light the lamps, and carry away the presents sometimes 
thrown in here by devotees.f In the southern side of the 

* The truth is no one knows what is there. I have even heard a 
learned Persian declare that there is no wall behind the curtain, which 
hangs so loosely that, when the wind blows against it, it defines the form 
of a block of marble, or a built-up tomb. I believe this to be wholly 
apocryphal, for reasons which will presently be offered. 

f The peculiar place where the guardians of the tomb sit and con- 
fabulate is the Dakkat el Ayhawat (eunuch's bench) or el Mayda — the 
table — a raised bench of stone and wood, on the north side of the Hujrah. 
The remaining part of this side is partitioned off from the body of the 


fence are three windows, holes about half a foot square, and 
placed from four to five feet above the ground ; they are 
said to be between three and four cubits distant from the 
Prophet's head. The most westerly of these is supposed to 
front Mohammed's tomb, wherefore it is called the Shubak 
el Nabi, or the Prophet's window. The next, on the right 
as you front it, is Abubekr's, and the most easterly of the 
three is Omar's. Above the Hujrah is the Green Dome, 
surmounted outside by a large gilt crescent springing from 
a series of globes. The glowing imaginations of the Mos- 
lems crown this gem of the building with a pillar of hea- 
venly light, which directs from three days' distance the 
pilgrims' steps towards El Medinah. But alas ! none save 
holy men, (and perhaps, odylic sensitives,) whose material 
organs are piercing as their vision spiritual, are allowed the 
privilege of beholding this poetic splendor. 

Arrived at the Shubah el Nabi, Hamid took his stand 
about six feet or so out of reach of the railing, and at that 
respectful distance from, and facing* the Hazirah (or pre- 
sence), with hands raised as in prayer, he recited the follow- 
ing supplication in a low voice, telling me in a stage whis- 
per to repeat it after him with awe, and fear, and love. 

u Peace be with thee, O Prophet of Allah, and the mercy 
of Allah and his blessings ! Peace be with thee, O Prophet 

mosque by a dwarf wall, inclosing the " Khasafat el Sultan," the place 
where Fakihs are perpetually engaged in Khitmahs, or perusals of the 
Koran, on behalf of the reigning Sultan. 

* The ancient practice of El Islam during the recitation of the follow- 
ing benedictions was to face Meccah, the back being turned towards the 
tomb, and to form a mental image of the Prophet, supposing him to be 
in front. El Kirmani and other doctors prefer this as the more venera- 
ble custom, but in these days it is completely exploded, and the purist 
would probably be soundly bastinadoed by the eunuchs for attempt- 
ing it 


of Allah ! Peace be with thee, O friend of Allah ! Peace 
be with thee, O best of Allah's creation ! Peace be with 
thee, O pure creature of Allah ! Peace be with thee, O 
chief of Prophets ! Peace be with thee, O seal of the Pro- 
phets ! Peace be with thee, O prince of the pious ! Peace 
be with thee, O Prophet of the Lord of the (three) worlds ! 
Peace be with thee, and with thy family, and with thy pure 
wives ! Peace be with thee, and with all thy companions ! 
Peace be with thee, and with all the Prophets, and with 
those sent to preach Allah's word ! Peace be with thee, 
and with all Allah's righteous worshippers ! Peace be with 
thee, O thou bringer of glad tidings ! Peace be with thee, 
O bearer of threats ! Peace be with thee, O thou bright 
lamp! Peace be with thee, O thou Prophet of mercy! 
Peace be with thee, O ruler of thy faith ! Peace be with 
thee, O opener of grief ! Peace be with thee ! and Allah 
bless thee ! and Allah repay thee for us, O thou Prophet of 
Allah ! the choicest of blessings with which he ever blessed 
prophet ! Allah bless thee as often as mentioners have men- 
tioned thee, and forgetters have forgotten thee ! And 
Allah bless thee among the first and the last, with the best, 
the highest, and the fullest of blessings ever bestowed on 
man, even as we escaped error by means of thee, and were 
made to see after blindness, and after ignorance, were 
directed into the right way. I bear witness that there is no 
Allah but Allah, and I testify that thou art his servant, and 
his prophet, and his faithful follower, and best creature. 
And I bear witness, O Prophet of Allah ! that thou hast 
delivered thy message, and discharged thy trust, and advised 
thy faith, and opened grief, and published proofs, and fought 
valiantly for thy Lord, and worshipped thy God till certainty 
came to thee (i. e. to the hour of death), and we thy friends, 
O Prophet of Allah ! appear before thee travellers from dis- 
tant lands and far countries, through dangers and difficul- 


ties, in the times of darkness, and in the hours of day, long- 
ing to give thee thy rights (i. e. to honor the Prophet by 
benediction and visitation), and to obtain the blessings of 
thine intercession, for our sins have broken our backs, and 
thou intercedest with the Healer. And Allah said,* ' And 
though they have injured themselves, they came to thee, 
and begged thee to secure their pardon, and they found 
God an acceptor of penitence, and full of compassion.' O 
Prophet of Allah, intercession ! intercession! intercession !f 
O Allah bless Mohammed and Mohammed's family, and 
give him superiority and high rank, even as thou didst pro- 
mise him, and graciously allow us to conclude this visita- 
tion. I deposit on this spot, and near thee, O Prophet of 
God, my everlasting profession (of faith) from this our day, 
to the day of judgment, that there is no Allah but Allah, 
and that our Lord Mohammed is his servant, and his Pro- 
phet.;); Amen ! O Lord of the (three) worlds !' "§ 

After which, performing Ziyarat for ourselves,! we 

* This is the usual introduction to a quotation from the Koran. 

f It may easily be conceived how offensive this must be to the 
"Wahhabis, who consider it blasphemy to assert that a mere man can 
stand between the Creator and the creature on the last day. 

\ This is called the Testification. Like the Fat-hah, it is repeated at 
every holy place and tomb visited at El Medinah. 

§ Burckhardt mentions that in his day, among other favors suppli- 
cated in prayer to the Deity, the following request was made, — " Destroy 
our enemies, and may the torments of hell fire be their lot !" I never 
heard it at the Prophet's tomb. 

As the above benediction is rather a long one, the Zair is allowed to 
shorten it & discretion, but on no account to say less than " Peace be 
with thee, O Prophet of Allah" — this being the gist of the ceremony. 

| Though performing Ziyarat for myself, I had promised my old 
Shaykh at Cairo* to recite a Fat-hah in his name at the Prophet's tomb ; 
so a double recitation fell to my lot. If acting Zair for another person 
(a common custom we read, even in the days of El Walid, the Caliph of 


repeated the Fat-hah or "opening" chapter of the Ko- 

" 1. In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compas- 
sionate ! 

" 2. Praise be to Allah, who the (three) worlds made. 

" 3. The merciful, the compassionate. 

" 4. The king of the day of fate. . 

" 5. Thee (alone) do we worship, and of thee (alone) do 
we ask aid. 

" 6. Guide us to the path that is straight — 

" 7. The path of those for whom thy love is great, not 
those on whom is hate, nor they that deviate. 

" Amen ! O Lord of Angels, Ginns, and men !"* 

After reciting this mentally with upraised hands, the 
forefinger of the right hand being extended to its full 
length, we drew our palms down our faces and did alms- 
deeds, a vital part of the ceremony. Thus concludes the 
first part of the ceremony of visitation at the Prophet's 

Hamid then stepped about a foot and a half to the right, 
and I followed his example ; so as to place myself exactly 
op])osite the second aperture in the grating called Abu- 
bekr's window. There, making a sign towards the mauso- 
leum, we addressed its inmate as follows : " Peace be with 
thee, O Abubekr, O thou truthful one ! Peace be with 

Damascus), you are bound to mention your principal's name at the begin- 
ning of the benediction, thus : " Peace be with thee, O Prophet of 
Allah, from such a one, the son of such a one, who wants thine interces- 
sion, and begs for pardon and mercy." Most Zairs recite Fat-hahs for all 
their friends and relations at the tomb. 

* I have endeavored in this translation to imitate the imperfect rhyme 
of the original Arabic. Such an attempt, however, is full of difficul- 
ties : the Arabic is a language in which, like Italian, it is almost impos- 
sible not to rhyme. 


thee, O caliph of Allah's Prophet over his people ! Peace 
be with thee, O Companion of the Cave, and friend in 
travel ! Peace be with thee, O thou banner of the fugitives 
and the auxiliaries ! I testify that thou didst ever stand 
firm in the right way, and wast a smiter of the infidel, and 
a benefactor to thine own people. Allah grant thee through 
his Prophet weal ! We pray Almighty God to cause us to 
die in thy friendship, and to raise us up in company with his 
Prophet and thyself, even as he hath mercifully vouchsafed 
to us this visitation."* 

After which we closed one more step to the right, and 
standing opposite Omar's window, the most easterly of the 
three, after making a sign with our hands, we addressed the 
just Caliph in these words : " Peace be with thee, O Omar ! 
O thou just one ! thou prince of true believers ! Peace be 
with thee, who spakest with truth, and who madest thy word 
agree with the Strong Book ! (the Koran), O thou Faruk.f 
Thou faithful one ! who girdest thy loins with the Prophet, 
and the first believers, and with them didst make up the full 
number forty,}; and thus causedst to be accomplished the 
Prophet's prayer, § and then didst return to thy God a 
martyr leaving the world with praise ! Allah grant thee, 
through his Prophet and his Caliph and his followers, the 
best of good, and may Allah feel in thee all satisfaction !" 

Shaykh Hamid, after wrenching a beggar or two from 

* It will not be necessary to inform the reader more than once that 
all these several divisions of prayer ended with the Testification and the 

•)• Faruk, — the separator, — a title of Omar. 

\ When the number of the As-hab or " Companions" was thirty- 
nine, they were suddenly joined by Omar, who thus became the fortieth. 

§ It is said that Mohammed prayed long for the conversion of Omar 
to El Islam, knowing his sterling qualities, and the aid he would lend to 
the establishment of the faith. 


my shoulders, then permitted me to draw near to the little 
window, called the Prophet's, and look in. Here my pro- 
ceedings were watched with suspicious eyes. The Persians 
have sometimes managed to pollute the part near Abubekr's 
and Omar's graves by tossing through the aperture what is 
externally a handsome shawl intended as a present for the 
tomb.* After straining my eyes for a time I saw a curtain,f 
or rather hangings, with three inscriptions in large gold 
letters, informing readers, that behind them lie Allah's Pro- 
phet and the two first caliphs. The exact place of Moham- 

* This foolish fanaticism has lost many an innocent life, for the Arabs 
on these occasions seize their sabres, and cut down every Persian they 
meet. Still, bigoted Shiahs persist in practising and applauding it, and 
the man who can boast at Shiraz of having defiled Abubekr's, Omar's, 
or Osman's tomb becomes at once a lion and a hero. 

f Burckhardt, with his usual accuracy, asserts that a new curtain is 
sent when the old one is decayed, or when a new Sultan ascends the 
throne, and those authors err who, like Maundrell, declare the curtain to 
be removed every year. 

The Damascus caravan conveys, together with its Mahmal or emblem 
of royalty, the new Kiswah (or " garment") when required for the tomb. 
It is put on by the eunuchs, who enter the baldaquin by its northern 
gate at night time, and there is a superstitious story amongst the people 
that they guard their eyes with veils against the supernatural splendors 
which pour from the tomb. 

The Kiswah is a black, purple, or green brocade, embroidered with 
white or with silver letters. A piece in my possession, the gift of Omar 
Effendi, is a handsome silk and cotton Damascus brocade, with white 
letters worked in it — manifestly the produce of manual labor, not the 
poor dull work of machinery. It contains the formula of the Moslem 
faith in the cursive style of the Suls character, seventy-two varieties of 
which are enumerated by calligraphers. Nothing can be more elegant 
or appropriate than its appearance. The old curtain is usually dis- 
tributed amongst the officers of the mosque, and sold in bits to pilgrims ; 
in some distant Moslem countries, the possessor of such a relic would be 
considered a saint. When treating of the history of the mosque, some 
remarks will be offered about the origin of this curtain. 


med's tomb is moreover distinguished by a large pearl 
rosary, and a peculiar ornament, the celebrated Kaukab el 
Durri, or constellation of pearls, suspended to the curtain 
breast high.* This is described to be a " brilliant star set 
in diamonds and pearls," and placed in the dark in order 
that man's eye may be able to bear its splendors ; the vulgar 
believe it to be a "jewel of the jewels of Paradise." To 
me it greatly resembled the round stoppers of glass, used 
for the humbler sort of decanters, but I never saw it quite 
near enough to judge fairly of it, and did not think fit to 
pay an exorbitant sum for the privilege of entering the 
inner passage of the baldaquin.f Altogether the coup-dPceil 
had nothing to recommend it by day. At night, when the 
lamps hung in this passage shed a dim light upon the mosaic 
work of the marble floors, upon the glittering inscriptions, 
and the massive hangings, the scene is more likely to become 
" ken-speckle." 

Never having seen the tomb,J I must depict it from 

* The place of the Prophet's head is, I was told, marked by a fine 
Koran hung up to the curtain ! This volume is probably a successor to 
the relic formerly kept there, the Cufic Koran belonging to Osman, the 
fourth Caliph, which Burckhardt supposes to have perished in the con- 
flagration which destroyed the mosque. 

f The eunuchs of the tomb have the privilege of admitting strangers. 
In this passage are preserved the treasures of the place; they are a 
" bait Mai el Muslimin," or public treasury of the Moslems ; therefore 
to be employed by the Caliph (i. e. the reigning Sultan) for the exigen- 
cies of the faith. The amount is said to be enormous, which I doubt. 

\ And I might add, never having seen one who has seen it. Niebuhr 
is utterly incorrect in his hearsay description of it. It is not " enclosed 
within iron railings for fear lest the people might superstitiously offer 
worship to the ashes of the Prophet." The tomb is not " of plain 
mason-work in the form of a chest," nor does any one believe that it is 
" placed within or between two other tombs, in which rest the ashes 
of the two first caliphs." The traveller appears to have lent a credu- 
lous ear to the eminent Arab merchant, who told him that a guard was 


books, by no means an easy task. Most of the historians 
are silent after describing the inner walls of the Hujrah. El 
Kalka-shandi declares " in eo lapidem nobilem continere se- 
pulchra Apostoli, Abubecr et Omar, circumcinctum peribole 
in modum conclavis fere usque ad tectum assurgente quae 
velo serico nigro obligatur." This author, then, agrees with 
my Persian friends, who declare the sepulchre to be a mar- 
ble slab. Ibn Jubayr, who travelled a. h. 580, relates that 
the Prophet's coffin is a box of ebony (abnus) covered with 
sandal- wood, and plated with silver ; it is placed, he says, 
behind a curtain, and surrounded by an iron grating. El 
Samanhudi, quoted by Burckhardt, declares that the cur- 
tain covers a square building of black stones, in the interior 
of which are the tombs of Mohammed and his two immedi- 
ate successors. He adds that the tombs are deep holes, and 
that the coffin which contains the Prophet is cased with 
silver, and has on the top a marble slab inscribed " Bismil- 
lah ! Allahumma salli alayh !" (" In the name of Allah ! 
Allah have mercy upon him !")* 

placed oyer the tomb to prevent the populace scraping dirt from about 
it, and preserving it as a relic. 

* Burckhardt, however, must be in error when he says, " The tombs 
are also covered with precious stuffs, and in the shape of catafalques, 
like that of Ibrahim in the great mosque of Meccah." The eunuchs 
positively declare that no one ever approaches the tomb, and that he 
who ventured to do so would at once be blinded by the supernatural 
light. Moreover, the historians of El Medinah all quote tales of certain 
visions of the Prophet, directing his tomb to be cleared of dust that had 
fallen upon it from above, in which case some man celebrated for piety 
and purity was let through a hole in the roof, by cords, down to the 
tomb, with directions to wipe it with his beard. This style of ingress 
is explained by another assertion of El Samanhudi, quoted by Burck- 
hardt. In a. h. 892, when Kaid-bey rebuilt the mosque, which had 
been destroyed by lightning, three deep graves were found in the inside, 
full of rubbish, but the author of this history, who himself entered it, 


The Prophet's body, it should be remembered, lies, or is 
supposed to lie, stretched at full length on the right side, 
with the right palm supporting the right cheek, the face 
fronting Meccah, as Moslems are always buried, and con- 
sequently the body lies with the head almost to due West 
and the feet to due East. Close behind him is placed Abu- 
bekr, whose face fronts the Prophet's shoulder,* and lastly 
Omar holds the same position with respect to his predecessor. 

It is popularly believed that in the Hujrah there is now 
spare place for only a single grave, which is reserved for Isa 
ben Maryam after his second coming. The historians of 
El Islam are full of tales proving that though many of their 
early saints, as Osman the Caliph and Hasan the Imam, 
were desirous of being buried there, and that although 
Ayisha, to whom the room belonged, willingly acceded to 
their wishes, son of man has as yet been unable to occupy it. 

After the Fat-hah pronounced at Omar's tomb, and the 
short inspection of the Hujrah, Shaykh Hamid led me round 
the south-east corner of the baldaquin. f Turning towards 

saw no traces of tombs. The original place of Mohammed's tomb was 
ascertained with great difficulty: the walls of the Hujrah were then 
rebuilt, and the iron railing placed round it, which is now there. 

* Upon this point authors greatly disagree. Ibn Jubayr, for instance, 
says, that Abubekr's head is opposite the Prophet's feet, and that Omar's 
face is on a level with Abubekr's shoulder. 

The vulgar story of the suspended coffin has been explained in two 
ways. Niebuhr supposes it to have arisen from the rude drawings sold 
to strangers. Mr. William Bankes (Giovanni Finati, vol. ii. p. 289) more 
sensibly believes that the mass of rock popularly described as hanging 
unsupported in the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, was confounded by 
Christians, who could not have seen either of these Moslem shrines, with 
the Prophet's tomb at El Medinah. 

\ Some Moslems end their Ziyarat at the Prophet's tomb ; others, 
instead of advancing, as I did, return to the Prophet's window, pray, 
and beg pardon for their parents and themselves, and ask all they desire, 


the north we stopped at what is commonly called the Mah- 
bat Jibrail, ("Place of the Archangel Gabriel's Descent 
with the Heavenly Revelations,") or simply El Malaikah — 
the Angels. It is a small window in the eastern wall of the 
mosque ; we turned our backs upon it, and fronting the 
Hujrah, recited the following prayer : — 

" Peace be with you, ye Angels of Allah, the Mukarra- 
bin (cherubs), and the Musharrafin (seraphs), the pure, the 
holy, honored by the dwellers in heaven, and by those who 
abide upon the earth. O beneficent Lord ! O long-suffering ! 
O Almighty ! O Pitier ! O thou Compassionate One ! per- 
fect our light, and pardon our sins, and accept penitence for 

concluding with prayers to the Almighty. Thence they repair to the 
Rauzah or Garden, and standing at the column called after Abu Luba- 
bah, pray a two-prostration prayer there ; concluding with the " Dua," 
or benediction upon the Prophet, and there repeat these words : " O 
Allah, thou hast said, and thy word is true, ' Say, Lord, pardon and 
show mercy ; for thou art the best of the Merciful,' (chap. 23). God, 
verily we have heard thy word, and we come for intercession to thy 
Prophet from our own sins, repenting our errors, and confessing our 
shortcomings and transgressions ! O Allah, pity us, and by the dignity 
of thy Prophet raise our place (in the heavenly kingdom) ! O Allah, 
pardon our brothers who have preceded us in ' the Faith ! ' " Then the 
Zair prays for himself, and his parents, and for those he loves. He 
should repeat, "Allah have mercy upon thee, Prophet of Allah!" 
seventy times, when an angel will reply, " Allah bless thee, O thou 
blesser ! " Then he should sit before the pulpit, and mentally conceive 
in it the Prophet surrounded by the Fugitives and the Auxiliaries. 
Some place the right hand upon the pulpit, even as Mohammed used 
to do. 

The Zair then returns to the column of Abu Lubabah, and repents 
his sins there. Secondly, he stands in prayer at Ali's pillar in front 
of the form. And lastly, he repairs to the Ustuwanat el As-hab, (the 
Companion's Column,) the fourth distant from the pulpit on the right, 
and the third from the Hujrah on the left ; here he prays, and meditates, 
and blesses Allah and the Prophet. After which, he proceeds to visit 
the rest of the holy places. 


our offences, and cause us to die among the holy ! Peace 
be with ye, Angels of the Merciful, one and all ! And the 
mercy of God and his blessings be upon you !" after which 
I was shown the spot in the Hujrah where Sayyidna Isa 
shall be buried* by Mohammed's side. 

Then turning towards the west, at a point where there 
is a break in the symmetry of the Hujrah, we arrived at the 
sixth station, the sepulchre or cenotaph of the Lady Fatimah. 
Her grave is outside the enceinte and the curtain which 
surrounds her father's remains, so strict is Moslem decorum, 
and so exalted its opinion of the " Virgin's" delicacy ; the 
eastern side of the Hujrah, here turning a little westward, 
interrupting the shape of the square, in order to give this spot 
the appearance of disconnection with the rest of the building. 
The tomb, seen through a square aperture like those above 
described, is a long catafalque, covered with a black pall. 
Though there is great doubt whether the lady be not buried 
with her son Hasan in the Bakia cemetery, this place is 
always visited by the pious Moslem. 

The following is the prayer opposite the grave of the 
amiable Fatimah : — 

"Peace be with thee, daughter of the Messenger of 
Allah ! Peace be with thee, daughter of the Prophet of 
Allah ! Peace be with thee, thou daughter of Mustafa ! 
Peace be with thee, thou mother of the Shurafa !f Peace 
be with thee, O Lady amongst women ! Peace be with 

* It is almost unnecessary to inform the reader that all Moslems 
deny the personal suffering of Christ, cleaving to the heresy of the 
Christian Docetes, — certain " beasts in the shape of men," as they are 
called in the Epistles of Ignatius to the Smyrneans, — who believed that 
a phantom was crucified in our Savior's place. They also hold to the 
second coming of the Lord in the flesh, as a forerunner to Mohammed, 
who shall reappear shortly before the day of judgment. 

f Plural of Sherif, a descendant of Mohammed. 


thee, O fifth of the Ahl El Kisa !* Peace be with thee, O 
Zahra and Batul ! f Peace be with thee, O daughter of the 
Prophet ! Peace be with thee, O spouse of our lord AH El 
Murtaza ! Peace be with thee, O mother of Hassan and 
Hosayn, the two moons, the two lights, the two pearls, the 
two princes of the youth of heaven, and gladness of the 
eyesj of true believers ! Peace be with thee and with thy 
sire, El Mustafa, and thy husband, our lord Ali! Allah 
honor his face, and thy face, and thy father's face in Para- 
dise, and thy two sons the Hasanayn ! And the mercy of 
Allah and his blessings!" (Concluding with the Testification 
and the Fat-hah.) 

We then broke away as we best could from the crowd of 
female " askers," who have established their Lares and Penates 
under the shadow of the Lady's wing, and advancing a 
few paces, we fronted to the north, and recited a prayer in 
honor of Hamzah, and the martyrs who lie buried at the foot 
of Mount Ohod.§ We then turned to the right, and, front- 
ing the easterly wall, prayed for the souls of the blessed whose 
mortal spirits repose within El Bakia's hallowed circuit. || 

* The " people of the garment," so called, because on one occasion the 
Prophet wrapped his cloak around himself, his daughter, his son-in-law* 
and his two grandsons, thereby separating them in dignity from other 

•j- Burckhardt translates " Zahra" " bright blooming Fatimah." This 
I believe to be the literal meaning of the epithet. When thus applied, 
however, it denotes " virginem to. Kara^via nescientem," in which state 
of purity the daughter of the Prophet is supposed to have lived. For 
the same reason she is called El Batul, the Virgin, — a title given by 
Eastern Christians to the Mother of our Lord. The perpetual virginity 
of Fatimah, even after the motherhood, is a point of orthodoxy in El Islam. 

% Meaning "joy and gladness in the sight of true believers." 

§ The prayer is now omitted, in order to avoid the repetition of it 
when describing a visit to Mount OhodL 

\ The prayers usually recited here are especially in honor of Abbas, 


After this we returned to the southern wall of the 
mosque, and, facing towards Meccah, we recited the follow- 
ing supplication : — " O Allah ! (three times repeated), O 
Compassionate ! O Beneficent ! O Requiter (of good and 
evil) ! O Prince ! O Ruler ! O ancient of Benefits ! O 
Omniscient ! O thou who givest when asked, and who 
aidest when aid is required, accept this our Visitation, and 
preserve us from dangers, and make easy our affairs, and 
expand our chests,* and receive our prostration, and requite 
us according to our good deeds, and turn not our evil deeds 
against us, and place not over us one who feareth not thee, 
and one who pitieth not us, and write safety and health 
upon us and upon thy slaves, the Hujjaj, and the Ghuzat, 
and the Zawwar,f and the home-dwellers and the wayfarers 
of the Moslems, by land and by sea, and pardon those of 
the faith of our lord Mohammed one and all !" (Then the 
Testification and the Fat-hah.) 

From the southern wall we returned to the " Prophet's 
Window," where we recited the following tetrastich and 

" Mustafa ! verily, I stand at thy door, 
A man, weak and fearful, by reason of my sins : 
If thou aid me not, Prophet of Allah ! 
I die — for in the world there is none generous as thou art !" 

" Of a truth, Allah and his Angels bless the Prophet ! O 

Hasan, (Ali, called) Zayn-El-Abidin, Osman, the Lady Halimah, the 
Martyrs, and the Mothers of the Moslems (i. e. the Prophet's wives), 
buried in the holy cemetery. When describing a visit to El Bakia, they 
will be translated at full length. 

* That is to say, " gladden our hearts." 

f Hujjaj is the plural of Hajj — pilgrims; Ghuzat, of Ghazi— cru- 
saders ; and Zawwar of Zair — visitors to Mohammed's tomb. 



ye who believe bless him and salute him with salutation !* 
O Allah ! verily I implore thy pardon, and supplicate there- 
fore thine aid in this world as in the next ! O Allah ! O 
Allah ! abandon us not in this holy place to the consequen- 
ces of our sins without pardoning them, or to our griefs 
without consoling them, or to our fears, O Allah ! without 
removing them. And blessings and salutation to thee, O 
Prince of Prophets, Commissioned (to preach the word), 
and praise to Allah the lord of the (three) worlds !" (Then 
the Testification and the Fat-hah.) 

We turned away from the Hujrah, and after gratifying 
a meek-looking but exceedingly importunate Indian beggar, 
who insisted on stunning me with the Chapter Y, S,f we 
fronted southwards, and taking care that our backs should 
not be in a line with the Prophet's face, stood opposite the 
niche called Mihrab Osma. There Hamid proceeded with 
another supplication. " O Allah ! (three times repeated), 
O Safeguard of the fearful, and defenders of those who 
trust in thee, and pitier of the weak, the poor, and the des- 
titute ! accept us, O Beneficent ! and pardon us, O Merci- 
ful ! and receive our penitence, O Compassionate ! and have 
mercy upon us, O Forgiver ! — for verily none but thou can 
remit sin ! Of a truth thou alone knowest the hidden and 
veilest man's transgressions : veil, then, our offences, and 
pardon our sins, and expand our chests, and cause our last 
words at the supreme hour of life to be the words, ' There 
is no God but Allah, J and our lord Mohammed is the Pro- 

* " Taslim" is " to say Salam" to a person. 

f The Ya Sin (Y, S), the 36th chapter of the Koran, frequently recit- 
ed by those whose profession it is to say such masses for the benefit of 
living, as well as of dead, sinners. Most educated Moslems commit it 
to memory. 

% (Or more correctly, " There is no Hah but Allah," that is, " There 
is no Deity but God.") 


phet of Allah !' O Allah ! cause us to live according to this 
saying, O thou Giver of life ! and make us to die in this 
faith, O thou ruler of death ! And the best of blessings 
and the completest of salutations upon the sole Lord of In- 
tercession, our Lord Mohammed and his family, and his 
companions one and all!" (Then the Testification and the 

And, lastly, we returned to the Garden, and prayed 
another two-prostration prayer, ending, as we began, with 
the worship of the Creator. 

Unfortunately for me, the boy Mohammed had donned 
that grand embroidered coat. At the end of the ceremony 
the Aghas, or eunuchs of the mosque, — a race of men con- 
sidered respectable by their office, and prone to make 
themselves respected by the freest administration of club 
law, — assembled in El Rauzat to offer me the congratula- 
tion "Ziyaratak Mubarak" — "blessed be thy visitation," 
and to demand fees. Then came the Sakka, or water- 
carrier of the Zemzen,* offering a tinned saucer filled from 
the holy source. And lastly I was beset by beggars, — some 
mild beggars and picturesque, who sat upon the ground 
immersed in the contemplation of their napkins ; others 
angry beggars, who cursed if they were not gratified ; and 
others noisy and petulant beggars, especially the feminine 
party near the Lady's tomb, who captured me by the skirt 
of my garment, compelling me to ransom myself. There 
were, besides, pretty beggars, boys who held out the right 
hand on the score of good looks ; ugly beggars, emaciated 
rascals, whose long hair, dirt, and leanness, entitled them to 
charity ; and lastly, the blind, the halt, and the diseased, 

* This has become a generic name for a well situated within the 
walls of a mosque. 


who, as sons of the Holy City, demanded from the Faithful 
that support with which they could not provide themselves. 
Having been compelled by my companions, highly against 
my inclination, to become a man of rank, I was obliged to 
pay in proportion, and my almoner in the handsome coat, 
as usual, took a pride in being profuse. This first visit cost 
me double what I had intended — four dollars — nearly one 
pound sterling, and never afterwards could I pay less than 
half that sum.* 

Having now performed all the duties of a good Zair, I 
was permitted by Shaykh Hamid to wander about and see 
the sights. We began our circumambulation at the Bab el 
Salam, — the Gate of Salvation, — in the southern portion of 
the western long wall of the mosque. It is a fine arch- 
way handsomely incrusted with marble and glazed tiles ; the 
number of gilt inscriptions on its sides give it, especially at 
night-time, an appearance of considerable splendor. The 
portcullis-like doors are of wood, strengthened with brass 
plates, and nails of the same metal. Outside this gate is a 
little Sabil, or public fountain, where those who will not 
pay for the water, kept ready in large earthen jars by the 
" Sakka,'' of the mosque, perform their ablutions gratis. 
Here all the mendicants congregate in force, sitting on the 
outer steps and at the entrance of the mosque, up and 
through which the visitors must pass. About the centre of 
the western wall is the Bab el Rahmah — the Gate of Pity. 
It admits the dead bodies of the Faithful when carried to be 
prayed over in the mosque ; there is nothing remarkable in 

* As might be expected, the more a man pays, the higher he esti- 
mates his own dignity. Some Indians have spent as much as 500 dollars 
during a first visit. Others have " made maulids," i. e., feasted all the 
poor connected with the temple with rice, meat, <fcc, while others 
brought rare and expensive presents for the officials. Such generosity, 
however, is becoming rare in these unworthy days. 


its appearance ; in common with the other gates, it has 
huge folding doors, iron-bound, an external flight of steps, 
and a few modern inscriptions. The Bab Mejidi or Gate 
(of the Sultan Abd el) Mejid stands in the centre of the 
northern wall ; like its portico, it is unfinished, but its pre- 
sent appearance promises that it will eclipse all except the 
Bab el Salam. The Bab el Nisa is in the eastern wall 
opposite the Bab el Rahmah, with which it is connected 
by the " Farsh el Hajar," a broad band of stone, two or 
three steps below the level of the portico, and slightly 
raised above the Sahn or the hypsethral portion of the 
mosque. And lastly, in the southern portion of the same 
eastern wall is the Bab Jibrail, the Gate of the Archangel 
Gabriel.* All these entrances are arrived at by short 
external flights of steps leading from the streets, as the 
base of the temple, unlike that of Meccah, is a little higher 
than the foundations of the buildings around it. The doors 
are closed by the eunuchs in attendance, immediately after 
night prayers, except during the blessed month El Rama- 
zan, and the pilgrimage season, when a number of pious 
visitors pay considerable fees to pass the night there in 
meditation and prayer. 

The minarets are five in number; but one, the Shi- 
kayliyah, at the north-west angle of the building, has been 
levelled, and is still in process of being re-built. The Munar 
Bab el Salam stands by the gate of that name : it is a tall 
handsome tower surmounted by a large bull, or cow, of 

* Most of these entrances have been named and renamed. The Bab 
Jibrail, for instance, which derives its present appellation from the 
general belief that the angel once passed through it, is generally 
called in books Bab el Jabr, the Gate of Repairing (the broken fortunes 
of a friend or follower). It must not be confounded with the Mahbat 
Jibrail, or the window near it in the eastern wall, where the archangel 
usually descended from heaven with the "VVahy or Inspiration. 


brass gilt or burnished. The Munar Bab el Rahmah, about 
the centre of the western wall, is of more simple form than 
the others : it has two galleries with the superior portion 
circular, and surmounted by the comical " extinguisher" 
roof so common in Turkey and Egypt. On the north-east 
angle of the mosque stands the Sulaymaniyah Munar, so 
named after its founder, Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. 
It is a well-built and a substantial stone tower divided into 
three stages; the two lower portions are polygonal, the 
upper one circular, and each terminates in a platform with 
a railed gallery carried all round for the protection of those 
who ascend. And lastly, from the south-east angle of the 
mosque, supposed to lie upon the spot where Belal, the 
Prophet's crier, called the first Moslems to prayer,* springs 
the Munar Raisiyah, so called because it is appropriated to 
the Ruasa or chiefs of the Muezzins. Like the Sulamaniyah, 
it consists of three parts : the first and second stages are 
polygonal, and the third, a circular one, is furnished like the 
lower two with a railed gallery. Both the latter minarets 
end in solid ovals of masonry, from which project a number 
of wooden triangles.f To these and to the galleries on all 
festive occasions, such as the arrival of the Damascus cara- 
van, are hung oil lamps — a poor attempt at illumination, 
which may perhaps rationally explain the origin of the 
Medinite superstition concerning the column of light which 
crowns the Prophet's tomb. There is no uniformity in the 
shape or the size of these four minarets, and at first sight, 
despite their beauty and grandeur, they appear somewhat 

* Belal, the loud-lunged crier, stood, we are informed by Moslem 
historians, upon a part of the roof on one of the walls of the mosque. 
The minaret, as the next chapter will show, was the invention of a more 
tasteful age. 

-j- (As on all the minarets of Cairo.) 


bizarre and misplaced. But after a few days I found that 
my eye grew accustomed to them, and that I had no diffi- 
culty in appreciating their massive proportions and lofty 

Equally irregular are the Riwaks, or porches, surround- 
ing the hypaethral court. Along the northern wall there 
will be, when finished, a fine colonnade of granite, paved 
with marble. The eastern Riwak has three rows of pillars, 
the western four, and the southern, under which stands the 
tomb, of course has its columns ranged deeper than all the 
others. These supports of the building are of different 
material ; some of fine marble, others of rough stone merely 
plastered over and painted with the most vulgar of ara- 
• besques, vermillion and black in irregular patches, and broad 
streaks like the stage face of a London clown.* Their size 
moreover is different, the southern colonnade being com- 
posed of pillars palpably larger than those in the other parts 
of the mosque. Scarcely any two shafts have similar capi- 
tals ; many have no pedestal, and some of them are cut with 
a painful ignorance of art. I cannot extend my admiration 
of the minarets to the columns — in their " architectural law- 
lessness" there is not a redeeming point. 

Of these unpraisable pillars three are celebrated in the 
annals of El Islam, for which reason their names are painted 
upon them, and five others enjoy the honor of distinctive 
appellations. The first is called El Mukhallak, because, on 
some occasion of impurity, it was anointed with a perfume 
called Khaluk. It is near the Mihrab el ISTabawi, on the 
right of the place where the Imam prays, and notes the spot 
where, before the invention of the pulpit, the Prophet, 
leaning upon the Ustuwanat el Hannanah — the weeping 

* This abomination may be seen in Egypt on many of the tombs, — 
those outside the Bab el Nasr at Cairo, for instance. 


Pillar* — used to recite the Khutbah or Friday sermon. The 
second stands third from the pulpit, and third from the 
Hujrah. It is called the Pillar of Ayisha, also the ITstu- 
wanat el Kurah, or the column of Lots, because the Prophet, 
according to the testimony of his favorite wife, declared that 
if men knew the value of the place, they would cast lots to 
pray there : in some books it is known as the pillar of the 
Muhajirin or Fugitives, and others mention it as El Muk- 
hallak — the Perfumed. Twenty cubits distant from Ayisha's 
pillar, and the second from the Hujrah, and the fourth from 
the pulpit, is the Pillar of Repentance, or of Abu Lubabah. 
It derives its name from the following circumstance. Abu 
Lubabah was a native of El Medinah, one of the auxiliaries 
and a companion of Mohammed, originally it is said a Jew, 
according to others of the Beni Amr ebn Auf of the Aus 
tribe. Being sent for by his kinsmen or his allies, the Beni 
Kurayzah, at that time capitulating to Mohammed, he was 
consulted by the distracted tribe : men, women and children 
threw themselves at his feet, and begged of him to inter- 
cede for them with the offended Prophet. Abu Lubabah 
swore he would do so : at the same time, he drew his hand 
across his throat, as much as to say, " Defend yourselves to 
the last, for if you yield, such is your doom." Afterwards 
repenting, he bound himself with a huge chain to the date- 
tree in whose place the column now stands, vowing to con- 
tinue there until Allah and the Prophet accepted his peni- 
tence, a circumstance which did not take place till the tenth 
day, when his hearing was gone and he had almost lost his 
sight. The less celebrated pillars are the Ustuwanat Sari, or 
column of the Cot, where the Prophet was wont to sit medi- 

* The tale of this weeping pillar is well known. Some suppose it to 
have been buried beneath the pulpit : others — they are few in number 
— declare that it was inserted in the body of the pulpit. 


tating on his humble couch of date-sticks. The Ustuwanat Ali 
notes the spot where the fourth caliph used to pray and watch 
his father-in-law at night. At the Ustuwanat el Wufud, as 
its name denotes, the Prophet received envoys, couriers, and 
emissaries from foreign places. The Ustuwanat el Tahajjud 
now stands where Mohammed sitting upon his mat passed 
the night in prayer. And lastly is the Makam Jibrail 
(Gabriel's place), for whose other name, Mirbaat el Bair, 
" the pole of the beast of burden," I have been unable to 
find an explanation. 

The four Riwaks, or porches, of the Medinah mosque 
open upon a hypsethral court of parallelogrammic shape. 
The only remarkable object in it * is a square of wooden 
railing enclosing a place full of well-watered earth, called 
the Garden of our Lady Fatimah.f It now contains a 
dozen date-trees — in Ibn Jubayr's time there were fifteen. 
Their fruit is sent by the eunuchs as presents to the Sultan 
and the great men of the Islam ; it is highly valued by the 
vulgar, but the Ulema do not think much of its claims to 
importance. Among the palms are the venerable remains 
of a Sidr, or Lote tree, whose produce]; is sold for inordinate 

* The little domed building which figures in the native sketches 
and in all our prints of the El Medinah mosque, was taken down three 
or four years ago. It occupied part of the centre of the square, and 
was called Kubbat el Zayt — Dome of Oil — or Kubbat el Shama— Dome 
of Candles — from its use as a store-room for lamps and wax candles. 

\ This is its name among the illiterate, who firmly believe the palms 
to be descendants of trees planted there by the hands of the Prophet's, 
daughter. As far as I could discover, the tradition has no foundation, 
and in old times there was no garden in the hypaethral court. The 
vulgar are in the habit of eating a certain kind of date, " El Say hani," 
in the mosque, and of throwing the stones about ; this practice is vio- 
lently denounced by the Ulema. 

\ Rhamnus Nabeca Forsk. The fruit, called Nebek, is eaten, and 
the leaves are used for the purpose of washing dead bodies. The visitor 



sums. The enclosure is entered by a dwarf gate in the 
south-eastern portion of the railing, near the well, and one 
of the eunuchs is generally to be seen in it : it is under the 
charge of the Mudir, or chief treasurer. These gardens 
are not uncommon in Moslem mosques, as the traveller 
who passes through Cairo can convince himself. They 
form a pretty and an appropriate feature in a building 
erected for the worship of Him "who spread the earth 
with carpets of flowers and drew shady trees from the 
dead ground." A tradition of the Prophet also declares 
that "acceptable is devotion in the garden and in the 
orchard." At the south-east angle of the enclosure, under 
a wooden roof supported by pillars of the same material, 
stands the Zemzem, generally called the Bir el Nabi, or 
"the Prophet's well." My predecessor declares that the 
brackishness of its produce has stood in the way of its 
reputation for holiness. Yet a well educated man told me 
that it was as "light" water* as any in El Medinah, — a 
fact which he accounted for by supposing a subterraneous 
passage f which connects it with the great Zemzem at 
Meccah. Others, again, believe that it is filled by a vein 
of water springing directly under the Prophet's grave : 

is not forbidden to take fruit or water as presents from El Medinah, but 
it is unlawful for him to carry away earth, or stones, or cakes of dust, 
made for sale to the ignorant. 

* The Arabs, who, like all Orientals, are exceedingly curious about 
water, take the trouble to weigh the produce of their wells ; the lighter 
the water, the more digestible and wholesome it is considered. 

\ The common phenomenon of rivers flowing underground in Arabia 
has, doubtless, suggested to the people these subterraneous passages, 
with which they connect the most distant places. At El Medinah, 
amongst other tales of short cuts known only to certain Bedouin fami- 
lies, a man told me of a shaft leading from his native city to Hadra- 
maut : according to him, it existed in the times of the Prophet, and was 
a journey of only three days I 


generally, however, among the learned it is not more 
revered than our Lady's Garden, nor is it ranked in books 
among the holy wells of El Medinah. Between this Zem- 
zem and the eastern Riwak is the Stoa, or academia, of the 
Prophet's city. In the cool mornings and evenings the 
ground is strewed with professors, who teach, as an eminent 
orientalist hath it, the young idea to shout rather than to 
shoot.* A few feet to the south of the palm garden is a 
movable wooden planking painted green, and about three 
feet high ; it serves to separate the congregation from the 
Imam when he prays here ; and at the north-eastern angle 
of the enclosure is a Shajar Kanadil, a large brass chande- 
lier, which completes the furniture of the court. 

After this inspection, the shadows of evening began to 
gather round us. We left the mosque, reverently taking 
care to issue forth with the left foot, and not to back out 
of it as in the Sunnat, or practice derived from the Prophet, 
when taking leave of the Meccan mosque. 

To conclude this long chapter. Although every Moslem, 
learned and simple, firmly believes that Mohammed's 
remains are interred in the Hujrah at El Medinah, I cannot 
help suspecting that the place is at least as doubtful as that 
of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. It must be remem- 
bered that a great tumult followed the announcement of 
the Prophet's death, when the people, as often happens, f 

* The Mosque Library is kept in large chests near the Bab el Salam ; 
the only MS. of any value here is a Koran written in the Sulsi hand. 
It is nearly four feet long, bound in a wooden cover, and padlocked, so 
as to require from the curious a " silver key." 

f So the peasants in Brittany believe that Napoleon the First is not 
yet dead ; the Prussians expect Frederick the Second ; the Swiss, 
"William Tell; the older English, King Arthur; and certain modern 
fanatics look forward to the re-appearance of Joanna Southcote. Why 
multiply instances in so well known a branch of the history of popular 
superstitions ? 


believing him to be immortal, refused to credit the report, 
and even Omar threatened destruction to any one that 
asserted it. Moreover the body was scarcely cold when 
the contest about the succession arose between the fugitives 
of Meccah and the auxiliaries of El Medinah : in the ardor 
of which, according to the Shiahs, the house of Ali and 
Fatimah, — within a few feet of the spot where the tomb of 
the Prophet is now placed — was threatened with fire, and 
that Abubekr was elected caliph that same evening. If 
any one find cause to wonder that the last resting-place of 
a personage so important was not fixed for ever, he may 
find many a parallel case in El Medinah. To quote no 
other, three places claim the honor of containing the Lady 
Fatimah's mortal spoils, although one might suppose that 
the daughter of a Prophet and the mother of the Imams 
would not be laid in an unknown grave. My reasons for 
incredulity are the following : 

1. From the earliest days the shape of the Prophet's 
tomb has never been generally known in El Islam. For 
this reason it is that graves are made convex in some 
countries, and flat in others: had there been a Sunnat,* 
this would not have been the case. 

2. The discrepant accounts of the learned. El Saman- 
hudi, perhaps the highest authority, contradicts himself. 
In one place he describes the coffin ; in another he expressly 
declares that he entered the Hujrah when it was being 
repaired by Kaid-bey, and saw in the inside three deep 
graves, but no traces of tombs, f Either, then, the mortal 

* The Sunnat is the custom or practice of the Prophet, rigidly con- 
formed to by every good and orthodox Moslem. 

\ The reader will bear in mind that I am quoting from Burckhardt. 
"When in El Hejaz and at Cairo, I vainly endeavored to buy a copy of 
El Samanhudi. One was shown to me at El Medinah ; unhappily, it 
bore the word Wakf (bequeathed), and belonged to the mosque. I was 
scarcely allowed time to read it. 


remains of the Prophet had — despite Moslem superstition* 
— mingled with the dust (a probable circumstance after 
nearly 900 years' interment), or, what is more likely, they 
had been removed by the Shiah schismatics who for centu- 
ries had charge of the sepulchre. 

3. And lastly, I cannot but look upon the tale of the 
blinding light which surrounds the Prophet's tomb, and now 
universally believed upon the authority of the attendant 
eunuchs, who must know its falsehood, as a. priestly gloss 
intended to conceal a defect. 

I here conclude the subject, committing it to some future 
and more favored investigator. In offering the above 
remarks, I am far from wishing to throw a doubt upon an 
established point of history. But where a suspicion of fable 
arises from popular " facts," a knowledge of man and of his 
maimers teaches us to regard it with favoring eye. 

* In Moslem law, prophets, martyrs, and saints, are not supposed to 
be dead; their property, therefore, remains their own. The Ulema 
have confounded themselves in the consideration of the prophetic state 
after death. Many declare that prophets live and pray for forty days 
in the tomb ; at the expiration of which time, they are taken to the 
presence of their Maker, where they remain till the last blast of IsranTs 
trumpet. The common belief, however, leaves the bodies in the graves, 
but no one would dare to assert that the holy ones are suffered to under- 
go corruption. On the contrary, their faces are blooming, their eyes 
bright, and blood would issue from their bodies if wounded. 

El Islam, as will afterwards appear, abounds in traditions of the 
ancient tombs of saints and martyrs, when accidentally opened, ex- 
posing to view corpses apparently freshly buried. And it has come to 
pass that this fact, the result of sanctity, has now become an unerring 
indication of it. A remarkable case in point is that of the late Sherif 
Ghalib, the father of the present prince of Meccah. In his lifetime he 
was reviled as a tyrant. But some years after his death, his body was 
found undecomposed ; he then became a saint, and men now pray at 
his tomb. Perhaps his tyranny was no drawback to his holy reputation. 



It is equally difficult to define, politically or geographically, 
the limits of El Hejaz. Whilst some authors fix its north- 
ern frontier at Aylah and the Desert, making Yemen its 
southern limit, others include in it only the tract of land 
lying between Meccah and El Medinah. As the country 
has no natural boundaries, and its political limits change 
with every generation, perhaps the best distribution of its 
frontier would be that which includes all the properly called 
Holy Land, making Yambu the northern and Jeddah the 
southern extremes, while a line drawn through El Medinah, 
Suwayrkiyah, and Jebel Kora, the mountain of Taif, might 
represent its eastern boundary. Thus El Hejaz would be 
an irregular parallelogram, about 250 miles in length, with 
a maximum breadth of 150 miles. Two meanings are 
assigned to the name of this region ; according to most 

* Amongst a people who, like the Arabs or the Spaniards, hold a 
plurality of names to be a sign of dignity, so illustrious a spot as El 
Medinah could not fail to be rich in nomenclature. A Hadis declares, 
" to El Medinah belong ten names :" books, however, enumerate nearly 
a hundred. 


authorities, it means the "Separator," or " Barrier," between 
Nejd and Tehamah ;* according to others, the " colligated," 
(by mountains). 

Medinat el Nabi, the Prophet's City, or, as it is usually 
called for brevity, El Medinah, the City, is situated on the 
borders of Nejd, upon the vast plateau of high land which 
forms central Arabia. The limits of the sanctuary called 
the Hudud el Haram, as defined by the Prophet, may still 
serve to mark out the city's plain. Northwards, at a dis- 
tance of about three miles, is Jebel Ohod, or, according to 
others, Jebel Saur, a hill somewhat beyond Ohod ; these 
are the last ribs of the vast primitive and graniticf chine 
that, extending from Lebanon to near Aden, and from Aden 
again to Muscat, fringes the Arabian trapezium. To the 
S.W. the plain is bounded by ridges of scoriaceous basalt, 
and by a buttress of rock called Jebel Ayr, like Ohod, 
about three miles distant from the town. Westward, accord- 
ing to some authors, is the Mosque Zu'l Halifah. On the 
east there are no natural landmarks, or even artificial, like 
the " Alamain" at Meccah ; an imaginary line, therefore, is 
drawn, forming an irregular circle, of which the town is the 
centre, with a diameter of from ten to twelve miles. Such 
is the sanctuary.^ Geographically considered, the plain is 
bounded, on the east, by a thin line of low dark hills, tra- 

* Or, according to others, between Yemen and Syria. 

f Such is its formation in El Hejaz. 

% Within the sanctuary all Muharramat, or sins, are forbidden ; but the 
several schools advocate different degrees of strictness. The Imam 
Malik, for instance, allows no latrince nearer to El Medinah than Jebel 
Ayr, a distance of about three miles. He also forbids slaying wild 
animals, but at the same time he specifies no punishment for the offence. 
Some do not allow the felling of trees, alleging that the Prophet en- 
joined their preservation as an ornament to the city, and a pleasure to 
visitors. El Khattabi, on the contrary, permits people to cut wood, and 
this is certainly the general practice. All authors strenuously forbid 


versed by the Darb el Sharki, or the " eastern road," through 
Nejd to Meccah : southwards, the plateau is open, and 
almost perfectly level as far as the eye can see. 

El Medinah dates its origin doubtless from ancient times, 
and the cause of its prosperity is evident in the abun- 
dant supply of a necessary generally scarce io Arabia. The 
formation of the plain is in some places salt sand, but usu- 
ally a white chalk, and a loamy clay, which even by the 
roughest manipulation makes tolerable bricks. Lime also 
abounds. The town is situated upon a gently shelving part 
of the plain, the lowest portion of which, to judge from the 
water-shed, is at the southern base of Mount Ohod, hence 
called El Safilah, and the Awali, or plains about Kuba, and 
the East. Water is abundant, though rarely of good quali- 
ty. In the days of the Prophet, the Madani consumed the 
produce of wells, seven of which are still celebrated by the 

within the boundaries slaying man (except invaders, infidels, and the 
sacrilegious), drinking spirits, and leading an immoral life. 

As regards the dignity of the sanctuary, there is but one opinion ; a 
number of Hadis testify to its honor, praise its people, and threaten 
dreadful things to those who injure it or them. It is certain that on the 
last day, the Prophet will intercede for, and aid, all those who die, and 
are buried, at El Medinah. Therefore, the Imam Malik made but one 
pilgrimage to Meccah, fearing to leave his bones in any other cemetery 
but El Bakia. There is, however, much debate concerning the compara- 
tive sanctity of El Medinah and Meccah. Some say Mohammed prefer- 
red the former, blessing it as Abraham did Meccah. Moreover, as a 
tradition declares that every man's body is drawn from the dust of the 
ground in which he is buried, El Medinah, it is evident, had the honor 
of supplying materials for the Prophet's person. Others, like Omar, 
were uncertain in favor of which city to decide. Others openly assert 
the pre-eminence of Meccah ; the general consensus of El Islam prefer- 
ring El Medinah to Meccah, save only the Bait Allah in the latter city. 
This last is a juste-milieu view, by no means in favor with the inhabit- 
ants of either place. In the meanwhile the Meccans claim unlimited 
superiority over the Madani ; the Madani over the Meccans. 


people. Historians relate that Omar, the second Caliph, 
provided the town with drinking-water from the northern 
parts of the plains by means of an aqueduct. The modern 
city is supplied by a source called the Ayn El Zarka or 
Azure spring. During my stay at El Medinah, I always 
drank this water, which appeared to me, as the citizens 
declared it to be, sweet and wholesome. There are many 
wells in the town, as water is found at about 20 feet below 
the surface of the soil, but few of them produce anything fit 
for drinking, some being salt, and others bitter. As is usual 
in the hilly countries of the East, the wide beds and fiumaras, 
even in the dry season, will supply the travellers for a day 
or two with an abundance of water, infiltrated into, and, in 
some cases, flowing beneath the sand. 

The climate of the plain is celebrated for a long and 
comparatively speaking rigorous winter ; a popular saying 
records the opinion of the Prophet " that he who patiently 
endures the cold of El Medinah and the heat of Meccah, 
merits a reward in Paradise." Ice is not seen in the town, 
but may frequently be met with, it is said, on Jebel Ohod ; 
fires are lighted hi the houses during winter, and palsies 
attack those who at this season imprudently bathe in cold 
water. The fair complexions of the people prove that this 
account of the wintry rigors is not exaggerated. 

And the European reader will observe that the Arabs 
generally reckon three seasons, including our autumn in their 
summer. The hot weather at El Medinah appeared to me 
as extreme as the wintry cold is described to be, but the air 
was dry, and the open plain prevented the faint stagnant 
sultriness which distinguishes Meccah. Moreover, though 
the afternoons were close, the nights and the mornings were 
cool and dewy. At this season of the year the citizens sleep 
on the house-tops, or on the ground outside their doors. 
Strangers must follow this example with circumspection ; the 


open air is safe in the Desert, but in cities it causes to the 
unaccustomed violent colds and febrile affections. 

I collected the following notes upon the diseases and 
medical treatment of the northern Hejaz. El Medinah has 
been visited four times by the Rih el Asfar,* or Cholera 
Morbus, which is said to have committed great ravages, 
sometimes carrying off whole households. In the Rah- 
mat el Kabirah, the " Great Mercy," as the worst attack is 
piously called, whenever a man vomited, he was abandoned 
to his fate ; before that he was treated Avith mint, lime-juice, 
and copious draughts of coffee. It is still the boast of El 
Medinah that the Taun or plague has never passed their 
frontier. The Judari, or small-pox, appears to be indigenous 
to the countries bordering upon the Red Sea ; we read of 
it there in the earliest works of the Arabs, and even to the 
present day it sometimes sweeps through Arabia and the 
Somali country with desolating violence. In the town of 
El Medinah it is fatal to children, many of whom, how- 
ever, are in these days inoculated : f amongst the Be- 
douins old men die of it, but adults are rarely victims, 
either in the city or in the desert. The nurse closes up the 
room during the day, and carefully excludes the night-air, 
believing that, as the disease is " hot,"J a breath of wind 
would kill the patient. During the hours of darkness, a 
lighted candle or lamp is always placed by the side of the 

* Properly meaning the yellow wind or air ; the antiquity of the 
word and its origin are still disputed. 

f In Yemen, we are told by Niebuhr, a rude form of inoculation — 
the mother pricking the child's arm with a thorn — has been known from 
time immemorial. My Medinah friend assured me that only during the 
last generation, this practice has been introduced amongst the Bedouins 
of El Hejaz. 

\ Orientals divide their diseases, as they do remedies and articles of 
diet, into hot, cold, and temperate. 


bed, or the sufferer would die of madness, brought on by 
evil spirits or fright. Sheep's-wool is burnt in the sick room, 
as death would follow the inhaling of any perfume. The 
only remedy I have heard of is pounded Kohl (anti- 
mony) drunk in water, and the same is drawn along the 
breadth of the eyelid, to prevent blindness. The diet 
is lentils and a peculiar kind of date, called Tamr el 
Birni. On the 21st day, the patient is washed with salt 
and tepid water. Ophthalmia is rare.* In the summer, 

* Herodotus (Euterpe) has two allusions to eye disease, which seems 
to have afflicted the Egyptians from the most ancient times. Sesostris 
the Great died stone-blind ; his successor lost his sight for ten years, and 
the Hermaic books had reason to devote a whole volume to ophthalmic 
disease. But in the old days of idolatry, the hygienic and prophylactic 
practices alluded to by Herodotus, the greater cleanliness of the people, 
and the attention paid to the canals and drainage, probably prevented 
this malarious disease becoming the scourge which it is now. 

The similarity of the soil and the climate of Egypt to that of Upper 
Sindh, and the prevalence of the complaint in both countries, assist us 
in investigating the predisposing causes. These are, the nitrous and 
pungent nature of the soil — what the old Greek calls " acrid matter 
exuding from the earth," — and the sudden transition from extreme dry- 
ness to excessive damp checking the invisible perspiration of the circum- 
orbital parts, and flying to an organ which is already weakened by the 
fierce glare of the sun, and the fine dust raised by the Khamsin or the 
Chaliho. Glare and dust alone seldom cause eye disease. Every ono 
knows that ophthalmia is unknown in the desert, and the people of El 
Hejaz, who live in an atmosphere of blaze and sand, seldom lose their 

The Egyptian usually catches ophthalmia in his childhood. It begins 
with simple conjunctivitis, caused by constitutional predisposition, expo- 
sure, diet, and allowing the eye to be covered with swarms of flies. He 
neglects the early symptoms, and cares the less for being a Cyclops, as 
the infirmity will most probably exempt him from military service. 
Presently the same organ becomes affected sympathetically. As before, 
simple disease of the conjunctiva passes into purulent ophthalmia. The 
man, after waiting a while, will go to the doctor and show a large cica- 


quotidian and tertian fevers (Hummah Salis) are not un- 
common, and if accompanied by vomitings, they are fre- 
quently fatal. The attack generally begins with the Naifa- 
zah, or cold fit, and is followed by El Hummah, the hot 
stage. The principal remedies are cooling drinks, and syrups. 
After the fever the face and body frequently swell, and 
indurated lumps appear in the legs and stomach. Jaundice 
and bilious complaints are common, and the former is popu- 
larly cured in a peculiar way. The sick man looks into a pot 
full of water, whilst the exorciser, reciting a certain spell, 
draws the heads of two needles from the patient's ears along 
his eyes, down his face, lastly dipping them into water, which 
at once becomes yellow. Others have " Mirayat," magic 
mirrors,* on which the patient looks, and loses the complaint. 
Dysenteries frequently occur in the fruit season, when the 
greedy Arabs devour all manner of unripe peaches, grapes, 
and pomegranates. Hydrophobia is rare, and the people 
have many superstitions about it. They suppose that a bit 
of meat falls from the sky, and that the dog who eats it 
becomes mad. I was assured by respectable persons, that 
when a man is bitten, they shut him up with food, in a soli- 
tary chamber, for four days, and that if at the end of that 
time he still howls like a dog, they expel the Ghul (Devil) 

trix in each eye, the result of an ulcerated cornea. Physic can do no- 
thing for him ; he remains blind for life. He is now provided for, either 
by living with his friends, who seldom refuse him a loaf of bread, or if 
industriously inclined, by begging, by acting Muezzin, or by engaging 
himself as " Yemeniyah," or chaunter, at funerals. His children are 
thus predisposed to the paternal complaint, and gradually the race be- 
comes tender-eyed. Most travellers have observed that imported African 
slaves seldom become blind either in Egypt or in Sindh. 

* This invention dates from the most ancient times, and both in the 
East and the West has been used by the weird brotherhood to produce 
the appearance of the absent and the dead, to discover treasure, to detect 
thieves, to cure disease, and to learn the secrets of the unknown world. 


from him, by pouring over him boiling water mixed with 
ashes — a certain cure I can easily believe. The only descrip- 
tion of leprosy known in El Hejaz is that called " Baras ;" 
it appears in white patches on the skin, seldom attacks any 
but the poorer classes, and is considered incurable. Wounds 
are treated by Marham, or ointments, especially the Balesan, 
or Balsam of Meccah ; a cloth is tied round the limb, and 
not removed till the wound heals, which amongst this people 
of simple life generally takes place by first intention. There 
is, however, the greatest prejudice against allowing water 
to touch a wound or a sore. 

By the above short account it will be seen that the 
Arabs are no longer the most skilful physicians in the world. 
They have, however, one great advantage in their practice, 
and are sensible enough to make free use of it. As the chil- 
dren of almost all respectable citizens are brought up in the 
Desert, the camp becomes to them a native village. In all 
cases of severe wounds or chronic diseases, the patient is 
ordered off to the black tents, where he lives as a Bedouin, 
drinking camels' milk, a diet highly cathartic, for the first 
three or four days, and doing nothing. This has been the 
practice from time immemorial in Arabia, whereas Europe 
is only beginning to systematise the adhibition of air, exer- 
cise, and simple living. And even now we are obliged to 
veil it under the garb of charlatanry — to call it a " milk- 
cure" in Switzerland, a " water-cure" in Silesia, a " grape- 
cure" in France, a " hunger-cure" in Germany, and other 
sensible names which act as dust in the public eyes. 

El Medinah consists of three parts, — a town, a fort, and 
a suburb little smaller than the body of the place. The town 
itself is about one-third larger than Suez, or about half the 
size of Meccah. It is a walled enclosure forming an irre- 
gular oval with four gates. The eastern gates are fine 
massive buildings, with double towers close together, painted 


with broad bands of red, yellow, and other colors.* In their 
shady and well-watered interiors, soldiers find room to keep 
guard, camel-men dispute, and numerous idlers congregate, 
to enjoy the luxuries of coolness and companionship. Beyond 
this gate, in the street leading to the mosque, is the great 
bazaar. Outside it lie the Suk el Khuzayriyah, or green- 
grocers' market, and the Suk el Habbabah, or the grain 
bazaar, with a fair sprinkling of coffee-houses. These mar- 
kets are long masses of palm-leaf huts, blackened in the sun 
and wind, of a mean and squalid appearance, detracting 
greatly from the appearance of the gate. Amongst them 
there is a little domed and whitewashed building, which I 
was told is a Sabil or public fountain. In the days of the 
Prophet the town was not walled. Now, the enceinte is in 
excellent condition. The walls are well built of granite and 
lava blocks, in regular layers, cemented with lime ; they are 
provided with long loopholes, and trefoil-shaped crenelles : 
in order to secure a flanking fire, semicircular towers, also 
loopholed and crenellated, are disposed in the curtain at 
short and irregular intervals. Inside, the streets are what 
they always should be in these torrid lands, deep, dark, and 
narrow, in few places paved — a thing to be deprecated — and 
generally covered with black earth well watered and trodden 
to hardness. The most considerable lines radiate towards 
the mosques. There are few public buildings. The houses 
are well built for the East, flat-roofed and double-storied ; 
the materials generally used are a basaltic scoria, burnt brick 
and palm wood. The best of them enclose spacious court- 
yards and small gardens with wells, where water basins and 
date trees gladden the owners' eyes. The latticed balco- 
nies, first seen by the European traveller at Alexandria, are 

* They may be compared to the gateway towers of the old Norman 
castles— Arques, for instance. 


here common, and the windows are mere apertures in the 
walls, garnished, as usual in Arab cities, with a shutter of 
planking. El Medinah fell rapidly under the Wahhabis, but 
after their retreat, it soon rose again, and now it is probably 
as comfortable and flourishing a little city as any to be found 
in the East. It contains between fifty and sixty streets, 
including the alleys and culs de sac. There is about the 
same number of Harat or quarters. Within the town few 
houses are in a dilapidated condition. The best authorities 
estimate the number of habitations at about 1500 within the 
enceinte, and those in the suburb at 1000. I consider both 
accounts exaggerated ; the former might contain 800, and 
the Munakhah perhaps 500 ; at the same time I must con- 
fess not to have counted them, and Captain Sadlier (in a.d. 
1819) declares that the Turks, who had just made a kind of 
census, reckoned 6000 houses and a population of 8,000 
souls. Assuming the population to be 16,000 (Burckhardt 
estimates it as high as 20,000), of which 9000 occupy the 
city, and 7000 the suburbs and fort, this would give little 
more than twelve inhabitants to each house (taking the total 
number at 1,300), a fair estimate for an Arab town, where 
the abodes are large and slaves abound. 

The castle joins on to the N.W. angle of the city en- 
ceinte, and the wall of its eastern outwork is pierced for a 
communication between the Munakhah Suburb, through a 
court strewed with guns and warlike apparatus, and the 
Bab el Shami, or the Syrian Gate. Having been refused 
entrance into the fort, I can describe only its exterior. The 
outer wall resembles that of the city, only its towers are 
more solid, and the curtain appears better calculated for 
work. Inside, a donjon, built upon a rock, bears proudly 
enough the banner of the crescent and the star ; its white- 
washed walls make it a conspicuous object, and guns 
pointed in all directions, especially upon the town, project 


from their embrasures. The castle is said to contain wells, 
bomb proofs, provisions, and munitions of war; if so, it 
must be a kind of Gibraltar to the Bedouins and the Wah- 
habis. The garrisoD consisted of a Kisf Urtah, or half 
battalion (400 men) of Nizam infantry, commanded by a 
Pacha; his authority also extends to a Sanjak, or about 
500 Kurdish and Albanian irregular cavalry, whose duty 
it is to escort caravans, to convey treasures, and to be shot 
in the passes. 

The suburbs lie to the S. and W. of the town. West- 
wards, between El Medinah and its faubourg, lies the plain 
of El Munakhah, about three quarters of a mile long, by 
300 yards broad. The straggling suburbs occupy more 
ground than the city ; fronting the enceinte they are with- 
out walls ; towards the west, where open country lies, they 
are enclosed by mud or raw brick ramparts, with little 
round towers, all falling to decay. A number of small 
gates lead from the suburb into the country. The suburb 
contains no buildings of any consequence, except the official 
residence of the governor, a plain building near the Barr 
el Munakhah, and the Five Mosques, which every Zair is 
expected to visit. They are 

1. The Prophet's mosque in the Munakhah. 

2. Abubekr's, near the Ayn el Zarka. 

3. Ali's mosque in the Zukak el Tayyar of the Munak- 

4. Omar's mosque. 

5. Balal's mosque, celebrated in books ; I did not see it, 
and some Madani assured me that it no longer exists. 

A description of one of these buildings will suffice, for 
they are all similar. Mohammed's mosque in the Munak- 
hah stands upon a spot formerly occupied, some say, by 
the Jami Ghamamah. Others believe it to be founded 
upon the Musalla el Nabi, a place where the Prophet 


recited the first Festival prayers after his arrival at El 
Medinah, and used frequently to pray, and to address 
those of his followers who lived far from the Haram. It 
is a trim modern building of cut stone and lime, in regular 
layers of parallelogrammic shape, surmounted by one large 
and four smaller cupolas. These are all white-washed, and 
the principal one is capped with a large crescent, or rather 
a trident rising from a series of gilt globes. The minaret 
is the usual Turkish shape, with a conical roof, and a single 
gallery for the Muezzin. An acacia tree or two on the 
eastern side, and behind it a wall-like line of mud-houses, 
finish the coup (frazil; the interior of this building is as 
simple as the exterior. And here I may remark that the 
Arabs have little idea of splendor, either in their public 
or in their private architecture. Whatever strikes the 
traveller's eye in El Hejaz is always either an importation 
or the work of foreign artists. This arises from the simple 
tastes of the people, combined, doubtless, with their notable 
thriftiness. If strangers will build for them, they argue, 
why should they build for themselves? Moreover, they 
have scant inducement to lavish money upon grand edifices. 
"Whenever a disturbance takes place, domestic or from 
without, the principal buildings are sure to suffer. And 
the climate is inimical to their enduring. Both ground 
and air at Meccah, as well as at El Medinah, are damp and 
nitrous in winter, in summer dry and torrid : the lime is 
poor ; palm timber soon decays ; even foreign wood-work 
suffers, and a few years suffice to level the proudest pile 
with the dust. 

The suburbs to the S. of El Medinah are a collection 
of walled villages, with plantations and gardens between. 
They are laid out in the form, called here as in Egypt, 
Ilosh — court-yards, with single-storied buildings opening 
into them. These enclosures contain the cattle of the 



inhabitants; they have strong wooden doors, shut at night 
to prevent " lifting," and are capable of being stoutly de- 
fended. The inhabitants of the suburb are for the most 
part Bedouin settlers, and a race of schismatics who will 
be noticed in another chapter. Beyond these suburbs, to 
the S., as well as to the N". and N.E., lie gardens and ex- 
tensive plantations of palm-trees. 



The principal places of pious visitation in the vicinity of El 
Medinah, are the Mosques of Kuba, the Cemetery El Bakia, 
and the martyr Hamzah's tomb, at the foot of Mount Ohod. 
These the Zair is directed by all the Ulema to visit, and on 
the holy ground to pray Allah for a blessing upon himself 
and upon his brethren of the faith. 

Early one Saturday morning, I started for Kuba with a 
motley crowd of devotees. Shaykh Hamid, my Muzawwir, 
was by my side, mounted upon an ass more miserable than 
I had yet seen. The boy Mohammed had procured for me 
a Meccan dromedary, with splendid trappings, a saddle with 
burnished metal peaks before and behind, covered with a 
huge sheepskin dyed crimson, and girthed over fine saddle- 
bags, whose enormous tassels hung almost to the ground 
The youth himself being too grand to ride a donkey, and 
unable to borrow a horse, preferred walking. He was 
proud as a peacock, being habited in a style somewhat 
resembling the plume of that gorgeous bird, in the coat of 
many colors — yellow, red, and golden flowers, apparently 
sewed on a field of bright green silk — which cost me so 


dear in the Haram. He was armed, as indeed all of us 
were, in readiness for the Bedouins, and he anxiously 
awaited opportunities of discharging his pistol. Our course 
lay from Shaykh Hamid's house in the Munakhah, along 
and up the fiumara, "El Sayh," and through the Bab 
Kuba, a little gate in the suburb wall, where, by the by, 
my mounted conrpanion was nearly trampled down by a 
rush of half wild camels. Outside the town in this direction, 
southward, is a plain of clay, mixed with chalk, and here 
and there with sand, whence protrude blocks and little 
ridges of basalt. 

Presently the Nakhil, or palm plantations began. 
Nothing lovelier to the eye, weary with hot red glare, than 
the rich green waving crops and cool shade — for hours I 
could have sat and looked at it, requiring no other occupa- 
tion — the " food of vision," as the Arabs call it, and " pure 
water to the parched throat." The air was soft and balmy, 
a perfumed breeze, strange luxury in El Hejaz, wandered 
amongst the date fronds ; there were fresh flowers and 
bright foliage, — in fact at mid-summer, every beautiful fea- 
ture of spring. Nothing more delightful to the ear than 
the warbling of the small birds, that sweet familiar sound, 
the splashing of tiny cascades from the wells into the 
wooden troughs, and the musical song of the water-wheels. 
Travellers — young travellers — in the East talk of the "dis- 
mal grating," the " mournful monotony," and the " melan- 
choly creaking of these dismal machines." To the veteran 
wanderer their sound is delightful from association, remind- 
ing him of green fields, cool water-courses, hospitable 
villagers, and plentiful crops. The expatriated Nubian, for 
instance, listens to the water-wheel with as deep emotion 
as the Ranz des Vaches ever excited in the hearts of Swit- 
zer mercenary at Naples, or " Lochaber no more," among 
a regiment of Highlanders in the West Indies. 


The date-trees of El Medinah merit their celebrity. 
Their stately columnar stems, here, seem higher than in 
other lands, and their lower fronds are allowed to tremble in 
the breeze without mutilation. These enormous palms were 
loaded with ripening fruit, and the clusters, carefully tied 
up, must often have weighed upwards of eighty pounds. 
They hung down between the lower branches by a bright 
yellow stem, as thick as a man's ankle. Books enumerate 
139 varieties of trees; of these between sixty and seventy 
are well-known, and each is distinguished, as usual among 
Arabs, by its peculiar name. The best kind is El Shelebi ; 
it is packed in skins, or in flat round boxes covered with 
paper, somewhat in the manner of French prunes, and sent 
as presents to the remotest parts of the Moslem world. 
The fruit is about two inches long, with a small stone, and 
what appeared to me a peculiar aromatic flavor and smell ; 
it is seldom eaten by the citizens on account of the price, 
which varies from two to ten piastres the pound. The tree, 
moreover, is rare, and said to be not so productive as the 
other species. The Ajwah is eaten, but not sold, because a 
tradition of the Prophet declares, that whoso breaketh his 
fast every day with six or seven of the Ajwah-date need 
fear neither poison nor magic. The third kind, El Hilwah, 
also a large date, derives a name from its exceeding sweet- 
ness : of this tree the Moslems relate that the Prophet 
planted a stone, which in a few minutes grew up and bore 
fruit. Next comes El Birni, of which was said " it causeth 
sickness to depart, and there is no sickness in it." The 
"Wahshi on one occasion bent his head, and salaamed to 
Mohammed as he ate its fruit, for which reason even now 
its lofty tuft turns earthwards. The Sayhani is so called, 
because when the founder of El Islam, holding Ali's hand, 
happened to pass beneath, it cried, " This is Mohammed the 
Prince of Prophets, and this is Ali the Prince of the Pious, 


and the progenitor of the immaculate Imams." Of course 
the descendants of so intelligent a vegetable hold high rank 
in the kingdom of palms, and the vulgar were in the habit 
of eating the Sayhani and of throwing the stones about the 
Haram. The Khuzayriyah is so called, because it preserves 
its green color, even when perfectly ripe ; it is dried and 
preserved as a curiosity. The Jebeli is that most usually 
eaten : the poorest kinds are the " Laun," and the Ililayah, 
costing from 4 to 1 piastres per mudd (about eleven 

The fruit is prepared in a great variety of ways : per- 
haps the most favorite dish is a broil with clarified butter, 
highly distasteful to the European palate. The date is also 
left upon the tree to dry, and then called " Balah :" this is 
eaten at dessert as the " Nukliyat," the " quatre mendiants," 
of Persia. Amongst peculiar preparations must be men- 
tioned the Kulladat el Sham. The unripe fruit is dipped in 
boiling water to preserve its gamboge color, strung upon a 
thick thread and hung out in the air to dry. These strings 
are worn all over El Hejaz as necklaces by children, who 
seldom fail to munch the ornament when not in fear of slap- 
pings, and they are sent as presents to distant countries. 

January and February are the time for the masculation 
of the palm. The " Nakhwaii," as he is called, opens the 
female flower, and having inserted the inverted male flowers, 
binds them together : this operation is performed as in 
Egypt upon each cluster. The fruit is ripe about the mid- 
dle of May, and the gathering of it forms the Arab's " ven- 
demmia." The people make merry the more readily because 
their favorite fruit is liable to a variety of accidents : droughts 
injure the tree, locusts destroy the produce, and the date 
crop, like most productions which men are imprudent enough 
to adopt singly as the staff of life, is subject to failure. 
One of the reasons for the excellence of Medinah dates is 


the quantity of water they obtain : each garden or field has 
its well, and even in the hottest weather the Persian wheel 
floods the soil every third day. It has been observed that 
the date-tree can live in dry and barren spots ; but it loves 
the beds of streams and places where moisture is procurable. 
The palms scattered over the other parts of the Medinah 
plain, and depending solely upon rain water, produce less 
fruit, and that too of an inferior quality. 

Verdure is not usually wholesome in Arabia, yet invalids 
leave the close atmosphere of El Medinah to seek health 
under the cool shades of Kuba. The gardens are divided 
by what might almost be called lanes, long narrow lines 
with tall reed fences on both sides. The graceful branches of 
the Tamarisk pearled with manna, and cottoned over with 
dew, and the broad leaves of the castor plant, glistening 
in the sun, protected us from the morning rays. The ground 
on both sides of the way was sunken, the earth being dis- 
posed in heaps at the foot of the fences, an arrangement 
which facilitates irrigation, by giving a fall to the water, 
and in some cases affords a richer soil than the surface. 
This part of the Medinah plain, however, being higher than 
the rest, is less subject to the disease of salt and nitre. On 
the way here and there the earth crumbles and looks dark 
under the dew of morning, but nowhere has it broken out 
into that glittering efflorescence which notes the last stage 
of the attack. The fields and gardens are divided into small 
oblongs separated from one another by little ridges of mould 
which form diminutive water courses. Of the cereals there 
are luxuriant maize, wheat, and barley, but the latter two 
are in small quantities. Here and there patches of " Barsim," 
or Egyptian clover, glitter brightly in the sun. The princi- 
pal vegetables are Badanjan (egg plant), the Bamiyah (a 
kind of esculent hibiscus, called Bhendi in India), and 
Mulukhiyah (Corchoris olitorius), a mucilaginous spinage 


common throughout this part of the East. These three are 
eaten by citizens of every rank ; they are in fact the greens 
and potatoes of El Medinah. I remarked also onions and 
leeks in fair quantities, a few beds of carrots and beans, 
some fijl (radishes), lift (turnips), gourds, cucumbers, and 
similar plants. Fruit trees abound. There are fine descrip- 
tions of vines, the best of which is El Sherifi, a long white 
grape of a flavor somewhat resembling the produce of Tus- 
cany.* Next to it, and very similar, is El Birni. The 
Hijazi is a round fruit, sweet, but insipid, which is also the 
reproach of the Sawadi or black grapes. And lastly, the 
Raziki is a small white fruit, with a diminutive stone. The 
Nebek, or Jujube, is here a fine large tree with a dark green 
leaf, roundish and polished like the olive ; it is armed with 
a short, curved, and sharp thorn,f and bears a pale straw- 
colored berry about the size of a gooseberry, with red streaks 
on the side next the sun. Little can be said in favor of the 
fruit, which has been compared successively by disappointed 
" Lotus eaters" to a bad plum, an unripe cherry, and an in- 
sipid apple. It is, however, a favorite with the people of 
El Medinah. There are a few peaches, hard like the Egyp- 
tian, and almost tasteless, fit only for stewing, but greedily 
eaten in a half-ripe state, large coarse bananas, lime trees, a 
few water melons, figs and apples, but neither apricots nor 
pears. There are three kinds of pomegranates : the best 

* The resemblance is probably produced by the similarity of treat- 
ment. At El Medinah, as in Italy, the vine is " married" to some tali 
tree, which, selfish as a husband, appropriates to itself the best of every- 
thing, — sun, breeze, and rain. 

f This thorn (the Rhamnus Nabeca, or Zizyphus Spina Christi) is 
supposed to be that which crowned our Saviour's head. There are 
Mimosas in Syria; but no tree, save the fabled Zakkum, could produce 
the terrible apparatus with which certain French painters of the modern 
school have attcnrpted to heighten the terrors of the scene. 


is the Shami (Syrian) ; it is red outside, very sweet, and 
costs one piastre ; the Turki is large and of a white color ; 
and the Misri has a greenish rind, and a somewhat subacid 
and harsh flavor : these latter are sold four times as cheap 
as the best. I never saw in the East, except at Meccah, a 
finer fruit than the Shami : almost stoneless, like those of 
Muscat, they are delicately perfumed and as large as an 
infant's head. El Medinah is celebrated for its thick prome- 
granate syrup, drunk with water during the hot weather, 
and esteemed cooling and wholesome. 

After threading our way through the gardens, an ope- 
ration requiring less time than to describe them, we saw, 
peeping through the groves, Kuba's simple minaret. Then 
we came in sight of a confused heap of huts and dwelling- 
houses, chapels and towers with trees between, and foul 
lanes, heaps of rubbish and barking dogs, — the usual mate- 
rial of a Hejazi village. Having dismounted, we gave our 
animals in charge of a dozen infant Bedouins, the produce 
of the peasant gardeners, who shouted " Bakhshish" the 
moment they saw us. To this they were urged by their 
mothers, and I willingly parted with a few paras for the 
purpose of establishing an intercourse with fellow creatures 
so fearfully and wonderfully resembling the tail-less baboon. , 
Their bodies, unlike those of Egyptian children, were slim* 
and straight, but their ribs stood out with a curious dis- 
tinctness, the color of the skin w r as that oily lamp-black 
seen upon the face of a European sweep, and the elf-locks, 
peeping out of the cocoa-nut heads, had been stained by 
the sun, wind, and rain to that reddish-brown hue which 
Hindoo romances have appropriated to their Rakshasas or 

* Travellers always remark the curious pot-bellied children on the 
banks of the Nile. This conformation is admired by the Egyptians, who 
consider it a sign of strength, and a promise of fine growth. 



demons. Each anatomy carried in his arms a stark-naked 
miniature of himself, fierce-looking babies with faces all 
eyes, and the strong little wretches were still able to 
extend the right hand and exert their lungs with direful 
clamor. Their mothers were fit progenitors for such pro- 
geny : long, gaunt, with emaciated limbs, wall-sided, high- 
shouldered, and straight-backed, with pendulous bosoms, 
spider-like arms, and splay feet. Their long elf-locks, 
wrinkled faces, and high cheek-bones, their lips darker than 
the epidermis, hollow staring eyes, sparkling as if to light 
up the extreme ugliness around, and voices screaming as if 
in a perennial rage, invested them with all the " charms of 
Sycorax." These " houris of hell" w T ere habited in long 
night-gowns dyed blue to conceal want of washing, and the 
squalid children had about a yard of the same material 
wrapped round their waist for all toilette. This is not an 
overdrawn portrait of the farmer race of Arabs, the most 
despised by their fellow countrymen, and the most hard- 
favored, morally as well as physically, of all the breed. 

Before entering the mosque of El Kuba it will be 
necessary to call to mind some passages of its past history. 
When the Prophet's she camel, El Kaswa, as he was 
approaching El Medinah after the flight from Meccah, 
knelt down here, he desired his companions to mount the 
animal. Abubekr and Omar did so ; still she sat upon the 
ground, but when Ali obeyed the order, she arose. The 
Prophet bade him loose her halter, for she was directed by 
Allah, and the mosque walls were built upon the line over 
which she trod. It was the first place of public prayer in 
El Islam. Mohammed laid the first brick, and with an 
" Anzah" or iron-shod javelin, marked out the direction of 
prayer ; each of his successors followed his example. The 
mosque of El Kuba wsts much respected by Omar, who 
once finding it empty, swept it himself with a broom of 


thorns, and expressed his wonder at the lukewarmness of 
Moslem piety. It was originally a square building of very 
small size ; Osman enlarged it in the direction of the 
minaret, making it sixty-six cubits each way. It is no 
longer " mean and decayed" as in Burckhardt's time : the 
Sultan Abd el Hamid, father of Mahmoud, erected a neat 
structure of cut stone, whose crenelles make it look more 
like a place of defence than of prayer. It has, however, no 
pretensions to grandeur. The minaret is of the Turkish 
shape. To the south a small and narrow Riwak, or raised 
hypostyle, with unpretending columns, looks out north- 
wards upon a little open area simply sanded over ; and this 
is the whole building. 

The large Mastabah or stone bench at the entrance of 
the mosque, was crowded with sitting people : we therefore 
lost no time, after ablution and the Niyat (" the intention") 
peculiar to this visitation, in ascending the steps, in pulling 
off our slippers, and in entering the sacred building. We 
stood upon the Prophet's place of prayer :* after Shaykh 
Nur and Hamid had forcibly cleared that auspicious spot 
of a devout Indian, and had spread a rug upon the dirty 
matting, we performed a two-prostration prayer, in front 
of a pillar into which a diminutive marble niche had been 
inserted by way of memento. Then came the Dua or sup- 
plication, which was as follows : 

" O Allah ! bless and preserve, and increase, and per- 
petuate, and benefit, and be propitious to, our lord Moham- 
med, and to his family, and to his companions, and be thou 
their Preserver ! O Allah ! this is the mosque Kuba, and 
the place of the Prophet's prayers. O Allah ! pardon our 
sins, and veil our faults, and place not over us one who 

* This is believed to be the spot where the Prophet performed hi3 
first Rukat, or bending of the back in prayer. 


feareth not thee, and who pitieth not us, and pardon us, 
and the true believers, men and women, the quick of them 
and the dead ; for verily thou, O Lord, art the hearer, the 
near to us, the answerer of our supplications." After which 
we recited the Testification and the Fat-hah, and we drew 
our palms as usual down our faces. 

We then moved away to the south-eastern corner of 
the edifice, and stood before a niche in the southern wall. 
It is called "Takat el Kashf" or "niche of disclosure," by 
those who believe that as the Prophet was standing un- 
decided about the direction of Meccah, the Archangel 
Gabriel removed all obstructions to his vision. There 
again we Avent through the two-prostration prayer, the 
supplication, the testification, and the Fat-hah, under diffi- 
culties, for people crowded us excessively. During our 
devotions, I vainly attempted to decypher a Cufic inscrip- 
tion fixed in the wall above and on the right of the niche, 
— my regret, however, at this failure was transitory, the 
character not being of an ancient date. Then we left the 
Riwak, and despite the morning sun which shone fiercely 
with a sickly heat, we went to the open area where stands 
the " Mabrak el Nakah," or the " place of kneeling of the 
she dromedary." This, the exact spot where El Kaswa 
sat down, is covered with a diminutive dome of cut stone, 
supported by four stone pillars : the building is about eight 
feet high and a little less in length and breadth. It has 
the appearance of being modern. On the floor, which was 
raised by steps above the level of the ground, lay, as usual, 
a bit of dirty matting, upon which we again went through 
the ceremonies above detailed. 

Then issuing from the canopy into the sun, a little out- 
side the Riwak and close to the Mabrak, we prayed upon 
the " Makan el Ayat," or the " place of signs." Here was 
revealed to Mohammed a passage in the Koran especially 


alluding to the purity of the place and of the people of 
Kuba, " a temple founded in purity from its first day:" and 
again; "there men live who loved to be cleansed, and 
verily Allah delights in the clean." The Prophet exclaimed 
in admiration, " O ye sons of Amr ! what have ye done to 
deserve all this praise and beneficence ?" when the people 
offered him an explanation of their personal cleanliness 
which I do not care to repeat. The mosque of Kuba 
from that day took a fresh title — Masjid el Takwa, or the 
" Mosque of Piety." 

Having finished our prayers and ceremonies at the 
mosque of piety, we fought our way out through a crowd 
of importunate beggars, and turning a few paces to the left, 
halted near a small chapel adjoining the south-west angle 
of the larger temple. We there stood at a grated window 
iu the western wall, and recited a supplication, looking the 
while most reverently at a dark dwarf archway under which 
the lady Fatimah used to sit grinding grain in a hand mill. 
The mosque in consequence bears the name of Sittna Fati- 
mah. A surly-looking Khadim, or guardian, stood at the 
door demanding a dollar in the most authoritative Arab 
tone — we therefore did not enter. At El Medinah and at 
Meccah the traveller's hand must be perpetually in his 
pouch : no stranger in Paris or London is more surely or 
more severely taken in. Already I began to fear that my 
eighty pounds would not suffice for all the expenses of sight- 
seeing, and the apprehension was justified by the sequel. 
At Meccah, my purse was too low to admit of my paying 
five dollars for admittance to the Makam Ibrahim ; which 
caused me much regret, as no European has ever entered 
it. My only friend was the boy Mohammed, who displayed 
a fiery economy that brought him into considerable dis- 
repute with his countrymen. They saw with emotion that 
he was preaching parsimony to me solely that I might have 


more money to spend at Meccah under his auspices. This 
being probably the case, I threw all the blame of penurious- 
ness upon the young Machiavel's shoulders, and resolved, as 
he had taken charge of my finances at El Medinah, so at 
Meccah to administer them myself. 

After praying at the window, to the great disgust of the 
Khadim, who openly asserted that we were " low fellows," 
we passed through some lanes lined with beggars and 
Bedouin children, till we came to a third little mosque 
situated due south of the larger one. This is called the 
Masjid Arafat, and is erected upon a mound also named 
Tall Arafat, because on one occasion the Prophet, being 
unable to visit the Holy mountain at the pilgrimage season, 
stood there, saw through the intervening space, and in 
spirit performed the ceremony. Here also we looked into 
a window instead of opening the door with a silver key, 
and the mesquin appearance of all within prevented my 
regretting the necessity of economy. In India or Sindh 
every village would have a better mosque. Our last visit 
was to a fourth chapel, the Masjid Ali, so termed because 
the Prophet's son-in-law had a house upon this spot. After 
praying there — and terribly hot the little hole was! — we 
repaired to the last place of visitation at Kuba — a large 
deep well called the Bir El Aris, in a garden to the west of 
the Mosque of Piety, with a little oratory adjoining it. A 
Persian wheel was going drowsily round, and the cool 
water fell into a tiny pool, whence it whirled and bubbled 
away in childish mimicry of a river. The music sounded 
sweet in my ears, I stubbornly refused to do any more 
praying — though Shaykh Hamid, for form's sake, reiterated 
with parental emphasis, "how very wrong it was," — and 
sat down, as the Prophet himself did not disdain to do, 
with the resolution of enjoying on the brink of the well a few 
moments of unwonted "Kaif." The heat was overpow- 


ering, though it was only nine o'clock, the sound of the 
stream was soothing, that water wheel was creaking a 
lullaby, and the limes and the pomegranates, gently rustling, 
shed voluptuous fragrance through the morning air. I fell 
asleep — and wondrous the contrast ! — dreamed that I was 
once more standing 

"By the wall whereon hangeth the crucified vine," 

looking upon the valley of the Lianne, with its glaucous 
seas and grey skies, and banks here and there white with 

The Bir el Aris,* so called after a Jew of El Medinah, 
is one which the Prophet delighted to visit. He would sit 
upon its brink with his bare legs hanging over the side, and 
his companions used to imitate his example. This practice 
caused a sad disaster ; in the sixth year of his caliphate, 
Osman dropped from his finger Mohammed's seal ring, 
which, engraved in three lines with " Mohammed — Apostle 
— (of) Allah," had served to seal the letters sent to 
neighboring kings, and had descended to the three first 
successors.! The precious article was not recovered after 
three days' search, and the well was thenceforward called 
Bir el Khatim — of the Seal Ring. It is also called the Bir 
el Taflat — of Salivaf — because the Prophet honored it by 

* Some authors mention a second Bir el Aris, belonging in part to 
the Caliph Osman. 

| Others assert, with less probability, that the article in question 
was lost by one Maakah, a favorite of Osman. As that ill-fated Caliph's 
troubles began at the time of this accident, the ring is generally com- 
pared to Solomon's. Our popular authors, who assert that Mohammed 
himself lost the ring, are greatly in error. 

\ According to some authors, Mohammed drew a bucket of water, 
drank part of the contents, spat into the rest, and poured it back into 
the well, which instantly became sweet 


expectoration, which, by the by, he seems to have done to 
almost all the wells in El Medinah. The effect of the 
operation upon the Bir el Aris, say the historians, was to 
sweeten the water, which before was salt. Their testimony, 
however, did not prevent my detecting a pronounced 
medicinal taste in the lukewarm draught drawn for me by 
Shaykh Hamid. In the Prophet's day the total number 
of wells is recorded to have been twenty : most of them 
have long since disappeared ; but there still remain seven, 
whose waters were drunk by the Prophet, and which, in 
consequence, the Zair is directed to visit.* After my sleep, 
which was allowed to last until a pipe or two of latakia 
had gone round the party, we remounted our animals. On 
the left of the village returning towards El Medinah, my 
companions pointed out to me a garden, called El Mad- 
shuniyah. It contains a quarry of the yellow loam or bole- 
earth, called by the Arabs Tan, the Persians Gili Sarshui, 
and the Sindhians Metu. It is used as soap in many parts 
of the East, and, mixed with oil, it is supposed to cool the 
body, and to render the skin fresh and supple. It is related 
that the Prophet cured a Bedouin of the Beni Haris tribe 
of fever by washing him with a pot of Tan dissolved in 
water, and hence the earth of El Medinah derived its heal- 
ing fame. As far as I could learn from the Madani, this 
clay is no longer valued by them, either medicinally or 
cosmetically : the only use they could mention was its being 
eaten by the fair sex, when in the peculiar state described 
by u chlorosis." 

* The pious perform the Lesser Ablution upon the brink of the 
seven wells, and drink of the remnant of the water in " tabarruk" or to 
secure the blessing of God. 



On the morning of Sunday, the twenty-third Zu'l Kaadah 
(28th August 1853), arrived the great caravan from El 
Sham or Damascus.* It is popularly called Hajj El Shami, 
or the "Damascus pilgrimage," as the Egyptian Cafala is 
El Misri,f or the Cairo pilgrimage. It is the main stream 
which carries off all the small currents that at this season 
of general movement flow from central Asia towards the 
great centre of the Islamitic world, and in 1853 amounted 
to about 7000 souls. It was anxiously expected by the 
people for several reasons. In the first place, it brought 
with it a new curtain for the Prophet's Hujrah, the old one 
being in a tattered condition ; secondly, it had charge of 
the annual stipends and pensions of the citizens ; and third- 
ly, many families expected members returning under its 
escort to their homes. The popular anxiety was greatly 
increased by the disordered state of the country round 

* This city derives its name, the " Great Gate of Pilgrimage," and 
the "Key of the Prophet's Tomb," from its being the gathering-place of 
this caravan. 

f The Egyptians corruptly pronounce El Misr — Cairo—" El Masr." 


about; and, moreover, the great caravan had been one 
day late, generally arriving on the morning of the 22nd 
Zu'l Kaadah. 

During the night three of Shaykh Hamid's brothers, 
who had entered as Muzawwirs with the Haji, came sud- 
denly to the house : they leaped off their camels, and lost 
not a moment in going through the usual scene of kissing, 
embracing, and Aveeping bitterly for joy. I arose in the 
morning, and looked out from the windows of the majlis : 
the Barr el Munakhah, from a dusty waste dotted with a 
few Bedouins and hair tents, had assumed all the various 
shapes and the colors of a kaleidoscope. The eye was 
bewildered by the shifting of innumerable details, in all 
parts totally different from one another, thrown confusedly 
together in one small field ; and, however jaded with sight- 
seeing, it dwelt with delight upon the vivacity, the variety, 
and the intense picturesqueness of the scene. In one night 
had sprung up a town of tents of every size, color, and 
shape, — round, square and oblong, — open and closed, — 
from the shawl-lined and gilt-topped pavilion of the pacha, 
with all the luxurious appurtenances of the Haram, to its 
neighbor the little dirty green " rowtie " of the tobacco- 
seller. They were pitched in admirable order : here ranged 
in a long line, where a street was required ; there packed 
in dense masses, where thoroughfares were unnecessary. 
But how describe the utter confusion in the crowding, the 
bustling, and the vast variety and volume of sound ? Huge 
white Syrian dromedaries, compared with which those of 
El Hejaz appeared mere pony-camels, jingling large bells, 
and bearing shugdufs* like miniature green tents, swaying 

* The Syrian shugduf differs entirely from that of El Hejaz. It is 
composed of two solid wooden cots about four feet in length, slung 
along the camel's sides and covered over with cloth, in the shape of a 
tent. They are nearly twice as heavy as the Hejazi litter, and yet a 


and tossing upon their backs; gorgeous Takhtrawan, or 
litters borne between camels or mules with scarlet and 
brass trappings; Bedouins bestriding naked-backed "De- 
luls,"* and clinging like apes to the hairy humps ; Arnaut, 
Turkish, and Kurd irregular horsemen, fiercer looking in 
their mirth than Roman peasants in their rage; fainting 
Persian pilgrims, forcing their stubborn dromedaries to 
kneel, or dismounted grumbling from jaded donkeys; Kah- 
wagis, sherbet sellers, and ambulant tobacconists crying 
their goods; country-people driving flocks of sheep and 
goats with infinite clamor through lines of horses fiercely 
snorting and rearing; towns-people seeking their friends; 
returned travellers exchanging affectionate salutes ; devout 
Hajis jolting one another, running under the legs of camels, 
and tumbling over the tents' ropes in their hurry to reach 
the Haram; cannon roaring from the citadel; shopmen, 
water-carriers and fruit venders fighting over their bargains; 
boys bullying heretics with loud screams ; a well-mounted 
party of fine old Arab Shaykhs of Hamidah clan, preceded 
by their varlets, performing the Arzah or war dance, — com- 
pared with which the Pyrenean bear's performance is grace 
itself, — firing their duck guns upwards, or blowing the 
powder into the calves of those before them, brandishing 
their swords, leaping frantically the while, with their bright- 
colored rags floating in the wind, tossing their long spears 
tufted with ostrich feathers high in the air, reckless where 
they fall ; servants seeking their masters, and masters their 
tents, with vain cries of Ya Mohammed ; f grandees riding 

Syrian cnmel-raan would as surely refuse to put one of the latter upon 
his beast's back, as the Hejazi to carry a Syrian litter. 

* This is the Arabic modern word, synonymous with the Egyptian 
ITajiu, namely, a she dromedary. The word " Nakah," at present popu- 
lar in El Hejaz, means a she dromedary kept for breeding as well as riding. 

f One might as sensibly cry out "John" in an English theatre. 


mules or stalking on foot, preceded by their crowd-beaters, 
shouting to clear the way ; — here the loud shrieks of women 
and children, whose litters are bumping and rasping against 
one another ; — there the low moaning of some poor wretch 
that is seeking a shady corner to die in : — add a thick dust 
which blurs the outlines like a London fog, with a flaming 
sun that draws sparkles of fire from the burnished weapons 
of the crowd, and the brass balls of tent and litter ; and — I 
doubt, gentle reader, that even the length, the jar, and the 
confusion of this description is adequate to its subject, or 
that any word-painting of mine can convey a just idea of 
the scene. 

This was the day appointed for our visiting the martyrs 
of Ohod. After praying the dawn-prayers as directed at the 
Haram, we mounted our donkeys, and, armed with pistols 
and knives, set out from the city. Our party was a large 
one. Saad the Devil had offered to accompany us, and the 
bustle around kept him in the best of humors ; Omar 
Effendi was also there, quiet looking and humble as usual, 
leading his ass to avoid the trouble of dismounting every 
second minute.* I had the boy Mohammed and my 
"slave," and Shaykh Hamid was attended by half a dozen 
relations. To avoid the crush of the Barr el Munakhah, we 
made a detour westwards, over the bridge and down the 
course of the torrent-bed " el Sayh." During the greater 
part of the time we were struggling through a living tide ; 
and among dromedaries and chargers, a donkey is by no 
means a pleasant monture. With some difficulty, but with- 
out any more serious accident than a fall or two, we found 
ourselves in the space beyond and northward of the city. 
This also was covered with travellers and tents, amongst 

* Respectable men in El Ilejaz, when they meet friends, acquaint- 
ances, or superiors, consider it only polite to dismount from a donkey. 


which, on an eminence to the left of the road, rose con- 
spicuous the bright green pavilion of the Emir El Hajj, the 
commandant of the caravan * Hard by, half its height sur- 
rounded by a kanat or tent wall, stood the Syrian or Sultan's 
Mahmal, all glittering with green and gilding and gold, and 
around it were pitched the handsome habitations of the prin- 
cipal officers and grandees of the pilgrimage. On the right 
hand 'lay extensive palm plantations, and on the left, strewed 
over the plain, were signs of wells and tanks, built to supply 
the Hajj with water. We pass two small buildings, — one the 
Kubbat El Sabak or Dome of Precedence, where the Pro- 
phet's warrior friends used to display their horsemanship ; 
the second the mdkan or burial-place of Sayyidna Zaki el 
Din, one of Mohammed's multitudinous descendants. Then 
we fall into a plain, resembling that of Kuba, but less fertile. 
While we are jogging over it, a few words concerning 
Mount Ohod may not be misplaced. A popular distich says, 

" Verily there is healing to the eye that looks 
Unto Ohod and the two Harratsf near." 

And of this holy hill the Prophet declared, " Ohod is a 

* The title of the pacha who has the privilege of conducting the 
caravan. It is a lucrative as well as an honorable employment, for the 
emir enjoys the droit d'aubaine, becoming heir to the personal property 
of all pilgrims who die in the holy cities or on the line of march. And 
no Persian, even of the poorest, would think of undertaking a pilgrimage 
by this line of country, without having at least 80/. in ready money 
with him. 

The first person who bore the title of Emir El Hajj was Abubekr, 
who in the 9th year of the Hijrah led 300 Moslems from El Medinah to 
the Meccah pilgrimage. On this occasion idolaters and infidels were for 
the first time expelled the Holy City. 

\ u Harrat" from Harr (heat) is the generic name of lava, porous 
basalt, scoriae, greenstone, schiste, and others supposed to be of igneous 
origin. It is also used to denote a ridge or hill of such formation. 


mountain which loves us and which we love : it is upon the 
gate of Heaven ;"* adding, " and Ayr is a place which hates 
us and which we hate : it is upon the gate of Hell." The 
former sheltered Mohammed in the time of danger, there- 
fore on Resurrection Day it will be raised to paradise : 
whereas Jebel Ayr, its neighbor, having been so ill-judged 
as to refuse the Prophet water on an occasion while he 
thirsted, will be cast incontinently into Hell. Moslem 
divines, be it observed, ascribe to Mohammed miraculous 
authority over animals, vegetables, and minerals, as well as 
over men, angels, and jinns. Hence the speaking wolf, the 
weeping post, the oil-stone, and the love and hate of these 
two mountains. It is probably one of the many remains of 
ancient paganism pulled down and afterwards used to build 
up the edifice of El Islam. 

Jebel Ohod owes its present reputation to a cave which 
sheltered the Prophet when pursued by his enemies, to 
certain springs of which he drank, and especially to its 
being the scene of a battle celebrated in El Islam. On 
Saturday, the 11th Shawwal, in the 3rd year of the Hijrah 
(26th January a. d. 625) Mohammed with 700 men engaged 
3000 infidels under the command of Abu Sufiyan, ran great 
personal danger, and lost his uncle Hamzah, the "Lord 
of Martyrs." On the topmost pinnacle, also, is the Kubbat 
Harun, the dome erected over Aaron's remains. It is now> 
I was told, in a ruinous condition. 

After half an hour's ride we came to the Mustarah or 
resting place, so called because the Prophet sat here for a few 
minutes on his way to the battle of Ohod. It is a newly- 
built square enclosure of dwarf white-washed walls, within 
which devotees pray. On the outside fronting El Medinah 
is a seat like a chair of rough stones. Here I was placed 

* Meaning that on that day it shall be so treated. 


hj my Muzawwir, who recited an insignificant supplication 
to ^e repeated after him. At its end with the Fat-hah and 
accompaniments, we remounted our asses and resumed our 
way. Travelling onwards, we came in sight of the second 
harrat or ridge. It lies to the right and left of the road, 
and resembles lines of lava, but I had not an opportunity 
to examine it narrowly.* Then we reached the gardens 
of Ohod, which reflect in miniature those of Kuba, and 
presently we arrived at what explained the presence of 
verdure and vegetable life, — a deep fiumara fall of loose 
sand and large stones denoting an impetuous stream. On 
the south of the fiumara is a village on an eminence, con- 
taining some large brick houses now in a ruinous state; 
these are the villas of opulent and religious citizens who 
visited the place for change of air, recreation, and worship 
at Hamzah's tomb. Our donkeys sank fetlock-deep in the 
loose sand of the torrent-bed. Then reaching the northern 
side and ascending a gentle slope, we found ourselves upon 
the battle-field. 

This spot, so celebrated in the annals of El Islam, is a 
shelving strip of land, close to the southern base of Mount 
Ohod. The army of the infidels advanced from the fiumara 
in crescent shape, with Abu Sufiyan, the general, and his 
idols in the centre. It is distant about three miles from El 
Medinah, in a northerly direction. All the visitor sees is 
hard gravelly ground, covered with little heaps of various 
colored granite, red sandstone, and bits of porphyry, to 
denote the different places where the martyrs fell, and were 

* "When engaged in 6uch a holy errand as this, to have ridden away 
for the purpose of inspecting a line of black stone, would have been 
certain to arouse the suspicions of an Arab. Either, he would argue, 
you recognise the place of some treasure described in your books, or 
you are a magician seeking a talisman. 


buried.* Seen from this point, there is something appalling 
in the look of the Holy Mountain. Its seared and jagged 
flanks rise like masses of iron from the plain, and the crevice 
into which the Moslem host retired, when the disobedience 
of the archers in hastening to plunder enabled Khalid bin 
Walid to fall upon Mohammed's rear, is the only break in 
the grim walL Reeking with heat, its surface produces not 
one green shrub or stunted tree; not a bird or beast 
appeared upon its inhospitable sides, and the bright blue 
sky glaring above its bald and sullen brow, made it look 
only the more repulsive. I was glad to turn my eyes away 
from it. 

To the left of the road N". of the fiumara, and leading 
to the mountains, stands Hamzah's Mosque, which, like the 
Haram of El Medinah, is a mausoleum as well as a fane. 
It is a small square strongly-built edifice of hewn stone, 
with a dome covering the solitary hypostele to the south, 
and the usual minaret. On the eastern side of the building 
a half wing projects, and opens to the south, with a small 
door upon a Mastabah or stone bench five or six feet high, 
which completes the square of the edifice. On the right of 
the road opposite Hamzah's Mosque, is a large erection, 
now in ruins, containing a deep hole leading to a well, and 
huge platforms for the accommodation of travellers, and 
beyond, towards the mountains, are the small edifices pre- 
sently to be described. 

Some Turkish women were sitting veiled upon the 
shady platform opposite the Martyrs' Mosque. At a little 
distance their husbands, and the servants holding horses 
and asses, lay upon the ground, and a large crowd of 
Bedouins, boys, girls, and old women, had gathered around 

* They are said to be seventy, but the heaps appeared to me at least 
three times more numerous. 


to beg, draw water, and sell dry dates. They were await- 
ing the guardian, who had not yet acknowledged the sum- 
mons. After half an hour's vain patience, we determined 
to proceed with the ceremonies. Ascending by its steps 
the Mastabah subtending half the eastern wall, Shaykh 
Hamid placed me so as to front the tomb. There, stand- 
ing in the burning sun, we repeated the following prayer : 
" Peace be with thee, O our Lord Hamzah ! O paternal 
uncle of Allah's messenger ! O paternal uncle of Allah's 
Prophet ! Peace be with thee, O paternal uncle of Mus- 
tafa ! Peace be with thee, O Prince of the Martyrs ! O 
prince of the happy ! Peace be with thee, O Lion of 
Allah ! O Lion of his Prophet !" Concluding with the Tes- 
tification and the Fat-hah. 

After which, we asked Hamzah and his companions to 
lend us their aid, in obtaining for us and ours pardon, 
worldly prosperity, and future happiness. Scarcely had we 
finished when, mounted on a high-trotting dromedary, 
appeared the emissary of Mohammed Khalifah, descendant 
of El Abbas, who keeps the key of the mosque, and receives 
the fees and donations of the devout. It was to be opened 
for the Turkish pilgrims. I waited to see the interior. 
The Arab drew forth from his pouch, with abundant 
solemnity, a bunch of curiously made keys, and sharply 
directed me to stand away from and out of sight of the 
door. When I obeyed, grumblingly, he began to rattle 
the locks, and to snap the padlocks, opening them slowly, 
shaking them, and making as much noise as possible. The 
reason of the precaution — it sounded like poetry if not 
sense — is this. It is believed that the souls of martyrs, 
leaving the habitations of their senseless clay,* are fond of 

* Some historians relate that forty-six years after the battle of 
Ohod, the tombs were laid bare by a torrent, when the corpses 



sitting together in spiritual converse, and profane eye must 
not fall upon the scene. What grand pictures these ima- 
ginative Arabs see ! Conceive the majestic figures of the 
saints — for the soul with Mohammedans is like the old Euro- 
pean spirit, a something immaterial in the shape of the body 
— with long grey beards, earnest faces, and solemn eyes, 
reposing beneath the palms, and discussing events now 
buried in the darkness of a thousand years. 

I would fain be hard upon this superstition, but shame 
prevents. When, in Nottingham, eggs may not be carried 
out after, sunset ; when Ireland hears Banshees, or appari- 
tional old women, with streaming hair, and dressed in blue 
mantles ; when Scotland sees a shroud about a person, 
showing his approaching death ; when France has her loup- 
garous, revenants, and poules du Vendredi Saint (i. e. hens 
hatched on Good Friday supposed to change color every 
year) : as long as the Holy Coat cures devotees at Treves, 
Madonnas wink at Rimini, San Gennaro melts at Naples, 
and Addolorate and Estatiche make converts to hysteria at 
Rome — whilst the Virgin manifests herself to children on 
the Alps, whilst Germany sends forth Psychography, whilst 
Europe, the civilized, the enlightened, the sceptical, dotes 
over such puerilities as clairvoyance and table-turning ; and 
whilst even hard-headed America believes in " mediums," 
in " snail-telegraphs,'' and " spirit-rappings," — I must hold 
the men of El Medinah to be as wise, and their superstition 
to be as respectable as others. 

But the realities of Hamzah's Mosque have little to 

appeared in their winding-sheets as if buried the day before. Some 
had their hands upon their death wounds, from which fresh blood 
trickled when the pressure was forcibly removed. In opposition to this 
Moslem theory, we have that of the Modern Greeks, namely, that if the 
body be not decomposed within a year, it shows that the soul is not 
where it should be. 

hamzah's mosque. 267 

recommend them. The building is like that of Kuba, only 
smaller, and the hypostele is hung with oil lamps and 
ostrich eggs, the usual paltry furniture of an Arab mauso- 
leum. On the walls are a few modern inscriptions and 
framed poetry, written in a caligraphic hand. Beneath the 
Rivak lies Hamzah, under a mass of black basaltic stone, 
like that of Aden, only more porous and scoriaceous, convex 
at the top, like a heap of earth, without the Kiswat,* or 
cover of a saint's tomb, and railed around with wooden 
bars. At his head or westward, lies Abdullah bin Jaish, a 
name little known to fame, under a plain white-washed 
tomb, also convex ; and in the court-yard is a similar one, 
erected over the remains of Shammas bin Usman, another 
obscure companion. We then passed through a door in 
the northern part of the western wall, and saw a diminutive 
palm plantation and a well. After which we left the mosque, 
and I was under the " fatal necessity " of paying a dollar 
for the honor of entering it. But the guardian promised 
that the chapters Y. S. and El Ikhlas should be recited for 
my benefit — the latter forty times — and if their efficacy be 
one-twentieth part of what men say it is, the reader cannot 
quote against me a certain popular proverb, concerning an 
order of men easily parted from their money. 

Issuing from the mosque, we advanced a few paces 
towards the mountain. On our left we passed by — at a re- 
spectable distance, for the Turkish Hajis cried out that their 
women were engaged in ablution — a large Sehrij or tank, 
built of cut stone with steps, and intended to detain the over- 
flowing waters of the torrent. The next place we prayed 
at was a small square, enclosed with dwarf white-washed 

* In the common tombs of martyrs, saints, and holy men, this cov- 
ering is usually of green cloth, with long white letters sewn upon it. 
I forgot to ask whether it was temporarily absent from Hamzah's 


walls, containing a few graves denoted by ovals of loose 
stones thinly spread upon the ground. This is primitive 
Arab simplicity. The Bedouins still mark the places of 
their dead with four stones planted at the head, the feet, 
and the sides, in the centre the earth is either heaped up 
Musannam (i. e. like the hump of a camel), or more gene- 
rally left Musattah — level. I therefore suppose that the lat- 
ter was the original shape of the Prophet's tomb. Within 
the enclosure certain martyrs of the holy army were buried. 
After praying there, we repaired to a small building still 
nearer to the foot of the mountain. It is the usual cupola 
springing from four square walls, not in the best preserva- 
tion. Here the Prophet prayed, and it is called the Khub- 
bat El Sanaya, " Dome of the Front Teeth," from the fol- 
lowing circumstance. Five infidels were bound by oath to 
slay Mohammed at the battle of Ohod ; one of these, Ibn 
Kumayyah, threw so many stones and with such good will 
that two rings of the Prophet's helmet were driven into his 
cheek, and blood poured from his brow down his mustachios, 
which he wiped with a cloak to prevent the drops falling to 
the ground. Then Utbah bin Abi Wakkas hurled a stone 
at him, which, splitting his lower lip, knocked out one of 
his front teeth. On the left of the Mihrab, inserted low 
down in the wall, is a square stone, upon which Shayhk 
Hamid showed me the impression of a tooth : he kissed it 
with peculiar reverence, and so did I. But the boy Mo- 
hammed being by me objurgated — for I remarked in him 
a jaunty demeanor combined with neglectfulness of ceremo- 
nies — saluted it sulkily, muttering the while hints about the 
holiness of his birth-place exempting him from the trouble 
of stooping. Already he had appeared at the Haram with- 
out his Jubbeh, and with ungirt loins, — in waistcoat and 
shirt sleeves. Moreover he had conducted himself indeco- 
rously by nudging Shaykh Hamid's sides during divine 


service. Feeling that the youth's " moral man " was, like 
his physical, under my charge, and determined to arrest a 
course of conduct which must have ended in obtaining for 
me, the master, the reputation of a " son of Belial," I insisted 
upon his joining us in the customary two-prostration 
prayers. And Saad the Devil taking my side of the ques- 
tion with his usual alacrity when a disturbance was in 
prospect, the youth found it necessary to yield. After this 
little scene, Shaykh Hamid pointed out a sprawling inscrip- 
tion blessing the companions of the Prophet. The unhappy 
Abubekr's name had been half effaced by some fanatic 
Shiah, a circumstance which seemed to arouse all the evil in 
my companion's nature, and looking close at the wall I 
found a line of Persian verse to this effect : 

"I am weary of my life (Umr), because it bears the name of 

"We English wanderers are beginning to be shamed out 
of our habit of scribbling names and nonsense in noted 
spots. Yet the practice is both classical and oriental. The 
Greeks and Persians left their marks everywhere, as Egypt 
shows, and the paws of the Sphinx bear scratches which, 
being interpreted, are found to be the same manner of 
trash as that written upon the remains of Thebes in a. d. 
1853. And Easterns never appear to enter a building with 
a white wall without inditing upon it platitudes in verse and 
prose. Influenced by these considerations, I drew forth a 
pencil and inscribed in the Kubbat El Sanaya, 

" Abdullah, the servant of Allah." 
(a. h. 1269.) 

* In the Persian character the word Umr, life, and Umar, the name 
of the hated caliph, are written exactly in the same way ; which 
explains the pun. 


Issuing from the dome we turned a few paces to the 
left, passed northwards, and blessed the martyrs of Ohod. 

Then again we moved a few paces forward and went 
through a similar ceremony, supposing ourselves to be in 
the cave that sheltered the Prophet. After which, return- 
ing towards the torrent-bed by the way we came, we stood 
a small distance from a cupola called Kubbat El Masra. 
We faced towards it and finished the ceremonies of this 
Ziyarat by a supplication, the Testification, and the Fat- 

In the evening I went with my friends to the Haram. 
The minaret galleries were hung with lamps, and the inside 
of the temple was illuminated. It was crowded with Hajis, 
amongst whom were many women, a circumstance which 
struck me from its being unusual.* Some pious pilgrims, 
who had duly paid for the privilege, were perched upon 
ladders trimming wax candles of vast dimensions, others 
were laying up for themselves rewards in paradise, by, per- 
forming the same office to the lamps ; many were going 
through the ceremonies of Ziyarat, and not a few were 
sitting in different parts of the mosque apparently over- 
whelmed with emotion. The boys and the beggars were 
inspired with fresh energy, the Aghawat were gruffer and 
surlier than I had ever seen them, and the young men 
about town walked and talked with a freer and an easier 
demeanor than usual. My old friends the Persians — there 
were about 1200 of them in the Hajj caravan — attracted 
my attention. The doorkeepers stopped them with curses 
as they were about to enter, and all claimed from each the 
sum of five piastres, whilst other Moslems are allowed to 

* The Prophet preferred women and young boys to pray privately, 
and in some parts of El Islam they are not allowed to join a congrega- 
tion. At El Medinah, however, it is no" longer, as in Burckhardt's time, 
" thought very indecorous in women to enter the mosque." 


enter the mosque free. Unhappy men ! they had lost all 
the Shiraz swagger, their mustachios drooped pitiably, their 
eyes would not look any one in the face, and not a head 
bore a cap stuck upon it crookedly. Whenever an " Ajemi," 
whatever might be his rank, stood in the way of an Arab 
or a Turk, he was rudely thrust aside, with abuse, mut- 
tered loud enough to be heard by all around. All eyes 
followed them as they went through the ceremonies of 
Ziyarat, especially as they approached the tombs of Abu- 
bekr and Omar, — which every man is bound to defile if he 
can, — and the supposed place of Fatimah's burial. Here 
they stood in parties, after praying before the Prophet's 
window : one read from a book the pathetic tale of the 
Lady's life, sorrows, and mourning death, whilst the others 
listened to him with breathless attention. Sometimes their 
emotion was too strong to be repressed. " Ay Fatimah ! 
Ay Mazlumah ! Way ! way / — O Fatimah ! O thou 
injured one ! Alas ! alas !" — burst involuntarily from their 
lips, despite the danger of such exclamations, tears trickled 
down their hairy cheeks, and their brawny bosoms heaved 
with sobs. A strange sight it was to see rugged fellows, 
mountaineers, perhaps, or the fierce Iliyat of the plains, 
sometimes weeping silently like children, sometimes shriek- 
ing like hysteric girls, and utterly careless to conceal a 
grief so coarse and grisly, at the same time so true and 
real, that we knew not how to behold it. Then the Satanic 
scowls with which they passed by or pretended to pray at 
the hated Omar's tomb ! With what curses their hearts 
are belying those mouths full of blessings ! How they are 
internally canonising Fayruz,* and praying for his eternal 
happiness in the presence of the murdered man ! Sticks 
and stones, however, and not unfrequently the knife and 

* The Persian slave who stabbed Omar in the mosque. 


the sabre, have taught them the hard lesson of disciplining 
their feelings, and nothing but a furious contraction of the 
brow, a roll of the eye, intensely vicious, and a twitching 
of the muscles about the region of the mouth, denotes the 
wild storm of wrath within. They generally, too, manage 
to discharge some part of their passion in words. " Hail 
Omar thou hog !" exclaims some fanatic Madani as he 
passes by the heretic — a demand more outraging than 
requiring a red-hot, black-north Protestant to bless the 
Pope. " O Allah ! hell him !" meekly responds the Persian, 
changing the benediction to a curse most intelligible to, and 
most delicious in his fellows' ears.f 

I found an evening hour in the steamy heat of the 
Haram, equal to half a dozen afternoons ; and left it 
resolved not to visit it till the Hajj departed from El 
Medinah. It was only prudent not to see much of the 
Ajemis ; and as I did so somewhat ostentatiously, my com- 
panions discovered that the Haj Abdullah, having slain 
many of those heretics in some war or other, was avoiding 
them to escape retaliation. In proof of my generalistic 
qualities, the rolling down of the water jar upon the heads 
of the Maghribi pilgrims in the " Golden Thread" was 
quoted, and all offered to fight for me a Poutrance. I took 
care not to contradict the report. 

* I have heard of a Persian being beaten to death, because instead 
of saying " peace be with thee, Ya Omar," he insisted upon saying 
" peace be with thee, Ya Humar (0 ass !)" 



El Medtnah contains but few families descended from 
the Prophet's auxiliaries. I heard only four whose genea- 
logy is undoubted. These were, — 

1. The Bait el Ansari, or descendants of Abu Ayyub, a 
most noble race whose tree ramifies through a space of 1500 
years. They keep the keys of the Kuba mosque, and are 
Imams in the Haram, but the family is no longer wealthy or 

2. The Bait Abu Jud: they supply the Haram with 
Imams and Muezzins. I was told that there are now but 
two surviving members of this family, a boy and a girl. 

3. The Bait el Shaab, a numerous race. Some of the 
members travel professionally, others trade, and others are 
employed in the Haram. 

4. The Bait el Karrani, who are mostly engaged in 

There is also a race called el Nakhawilah, who, accord- 
ing to some, are descendants of the Ansar, whilst others 
derive them from Yezid, the son of Muawiyah : the latter 
opinion is improbable, as the Caliph in question was the 



mortal foe to Ali's family, which is inordinately venerated 
by these people. As far as I could ascertain, they abuse 
the Shaykhain :* all my informants agreed upon this point, 
but none could tell me why they neglected to bedevil 
Osman, the third object of hatred to the Shiah persuasion. 
They are numerous and warlike, yet they are despised 
by the townspeople, because they openly profess heresy, 
and, are moreover of humble degree. They have their 
own priests and instructors, although subject to the ortho- 
dox Kazi, marry in their own sect, are confined to low 
offices, such as slaughtering animals, sweeping, and garden- 
ing, and are not allowed to enter the Haram during life, or 
to be carried to it after death. Their corpses are taken 
down an outer street called the Darb el Jenazah — Road 
of Biers — to their own cemetery near El Bakia. They 
dress and speak Arabic, like the townspeople ; but the 
Arabs pretend to distinguish them by a peculiar look 
denoting their degradation, — doubtless the mistake of 
effect for cause, made about all such 

"Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast." 

A number of reports are current about the horrid 
customs of these people, and their community of women 
with the Persian pilgrims who pass through the town. It 
need scarcely be said that such tales coming from the 
mouths of fanatic foes are not to be credited. I regret not 
having had an opportunity to become intimate with any 
of the Nakhawilah, from whom curious information might 
be elicited. Orthodox Moslems do not like to be ques- 
tioned about such hateful subjects ; when I attempted to 
learn something from one of my acquaintance, Shaykh Ula 
el Din, of a Kurd family, settled at El Medinah, a man who 

* The " two Shaykhs"— Abubekr and Omar. 


had travelled over the East, and who spoke five languages 
to perfection, he coldly replied that he had never consorted 
with these heretics. Sayyids and Sherifs, the descendants 
of the Prophet, here abound. 

There are about 200 families of Sayyid Alawiyah, — 
descendants of Ali by any of his wives but Fatimah, — they 
bear no distinctive mark in dress or appearance, and are 
either employed at the temple or engage in trade. Of the 
Khalifiyyah, or descendants of Abbas, there is, I am told, 
but one household, who act as Imams in the Haram, and 
have charge of Hamzah's tomb. Some declare that there 
are a few of the Siddikiyah, or descendants from Abubekr ; 
others ignored them. 

The rest of the population of El Medinah is a motley 
race composed of offshoots from every nation in El Islam. 
The sanctity of the city attracts strangers, who, purposing 
to stay but a short time, become residents: after finding 
some employment, they marry, have families, die, and are 
buried there, with an eye to the spiritual advantages of the 
place. I was much importuned to stay at El Medinah. 
The only known physician was one Shaykh Abdullah Sahib, 
an Indian, a learned man, but of so melancholic a tempera- 
ment, and so ascetic in his habits, that his knowledge was 
entirely lost to the public. The present ruling race at El 
Medinah, in consequence of political vicissitudes, are the 
sons of Turkish fathers by Arab mothers. These half-castes 
are now numerous, and have managed to secure the highest 
and most lucrative offices. Besides Turks, there are fami- 
lies originally from the Maghrib, Takruris, Egyptians in 
considerable numbers, settlers from Yemen and other parts 
of Arabia, Syrians, Kurds, Afghans, Daghistani from the 
Caucasus, and a few Jawi — Java Moslems. The Indians 
are not so numerous in proportion here as at Meccah ; still 
Hindostani is by no means uncommonly heard in the streets. 


They preserve their peculiar costume, the women persisting 
in showing their faces, and in wearing tight, exceedingly 
tight, pantaloons. This, together with other reasons, 
secures for them the contempt of the Arabs. At El Me- 
dinah they are generally small shopkeepers, especially drug- 
gists and sellers of Kumash (cloths), and form a society of 
their own. 

The citizens of El Medinah are a favored race, al- 
though their city is not, like Meccah, the grand mart of 
the Moslem world or the meeting-place of nations. They 
pay no taxes, and reject the idea of a "Miri," or land-cess, 
with extreme disdain. " Are we, the children of the Pro- 
phet," they exclaim, " to support or to be supported ?" The 
Wahhabis, not understanding the argument, taxed them, 
as was their wont, in specie and in materials, for which 
reason the very name of the Puritans is an abomination. 
As has before been shown, all the numerous attendants at 
the mosque are paid partly by the Sultan, partly by aukaf, 
the rents of houses and lands bequeathed to the shrine, and 
scattered over every part of the Moslem world. When a 
Madani is inclined to travel, he applies to the Mudir 
el Haram, and receives from him a paper which en- 
titles him to the receipt of a considerable sum at Con- 

The Madani traveller, on arrival at Constantinople, 
reports his arrival to his consul, the Wakil el Haramain. 
This "Agent of the two Holy Places" applies to the Nazir 
el Aukaf, or "Intendant of Bequests;" the latter, after 
transmitting the demand to the different officers of the 
treasury, sends the money to the Wakil, who delivers it to 
the applicant. This gift is sometimes squandered in plea- 
sure, more often invested profitably either in merchandise 
or in articles of home-use, presents of dress and jewellery 
for the women, handsome arms, especially pistols and 


balas* silk tassels, amber pipe-pieces, slippers, and embroider- 
ed purses. They are packed up in one or two large sahharahs 
(chests), and then commences the labor of returning home 
gratis. I have already described the extent of mental agi- 
tation caused during the journey by these precious convoys. 
Besides the Ikram, most of the Madani, when upon these 
begging trips, are received as guests by great men at Con- 
stantinople. The citizens whose turn it is not to travel, 
await the Aukaf and Sadakat, forwarded every year by the 
Damascus caravan ; besides which, as has been before ex- 
plained, the Haram supplies even those not officially em- 
ployed in it with many perquisites. 

Without these advantages El Medinah would soon be 
abandoned to cultivators and Bedouins. Though commerce 
is here honorable, as everywhere in the East, business is 
" slack," because the higher classes prefer the idleness of 
administering their landed estates, and being servants to 
the mosque. I heard of only four respectable houses. They 
all deal in grain, cloth, and provisions, and perhaps the 
richest have a capital of 20,000 dollars. Caravans in the 
cold weather are constantly passing between El Medinah 
and Egypt, but they are rather bodies of visitors to Con- 
stantinople than traders travelling for gain. Corn is 
brought from Jeddah by land, and imported into Yambu 
or El Rais, a port on the Red Sea, one day and a half's 
journey from Safra. There is an active provision trade 
with the neighboring Bedouins, and the Syrian Hajj 
supplies the citizens with apparel and articles of luxury — 
tobacco, dried fruits, sweetmeats, knives, and all that is 
included under the word " notions." There are few store- 
keepers, and their dealings are petty, because articles of 

* The Turkish " yataghan." It is a long dagger, intended for thrust- 
ing rather than cutting. 


every kind are brought from Egypt, Syria, and Constan- 
tinople. As a general rule, labor is exceedingly expensive, 
and at the visitation time a man will demand fifteen or 
twenty piastres from a stranger for such a trifling job as 
mending an umbrella. Handicraftsmen and artisans — 
carpenters, masons, locksmiths, potters and others, are 
either slaves or foreigners, mostly Egyptians. This pro- 
ceeds partly from the pride of the people. They are 
taught from their childhood that the Madani is a favored 
being, to be respected however vile or schismatic, and that 
the vengeance of Allah will fall upon any one who ventures 
to abuse, much more to strike him. They receive a stran- 
ger at the shop window with the haughtiness of Pachas, 
and take pains to show him by words as well as by looks, 
that they consider themselves as "good gentlemen as 
princes, only not so rich." Added to this pride are 
indolence, and the true Arab prejudice, which, even in 
the present day, prevents a Bedouin from marrying the 
daughter of an artisan. Like Castilians they consider 
labor humiliating to any but a slave ; nor is this, as a clever 
French author remarks, by any means an unreasonable 
idea, since Heaven, to punish man for disobedience, caused 
him to eat daily bread by the sweat of his brow. Besides, 
there is degradation, moral and physical, in handiwork 
compared with the freedom of the desert. The loom and 
the file do not conserve courtesy and chivalry like the 
sword and spear ; man extending his tongue, to use an Arab 
phrase, when a cuff and not a stab is to be the consequence 
of an injurious expression. Even the ruffian becomes polite 
in California, where his brother ruffian carries a revolver, 
and those European nations who were most polished when 
every gentleman wore a rapier have become the rudest 
since Civilisation disarmed them. 

The citizens, despite their being generally in debt, ma- 


nage to live well. Their cookery, like that of Meccah, has 
borrowed something from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Persia, 
and India ; like all Orientals they are exceedingly fond of 
clarified butter.* I have seen the boy Mohammed drink 
off nearly a tumbler full, although his friends warned him 
that it would make him as fat as an elephant. When a 
man cannot enjoy clarified butter in these countries, it is 
considered a sign that his stomach is out of order, and all 
my excuses of a melancholic temperament were required to 
be in full play to prevent the infliction of fried meat swim- 
ming in grease, or that guest-dish, rice saturated with melt- 
ed — perhaps I should say — rancid butter. The house of a 
Madani in good circumstances is comfortable, for the build- 
ing is substantial, and the attendance respectable. Black 
slave-girls here perform the complicated duties of servant- 
maids in England ; they are taught to sew, to cook, and to 
wash, besides sweeping the house and drawing water for 
domestic use. Hasinah (the " Charmer," a decided misno- 
mer) costs from 40 to 50 dollars : if she be a mother, her 
value is less, but neat-handedness, propriety of demeanor, 
and skill in feminine accomplishments, raise her to 100 dol- 
lars, 251. A little black boy, perfect in all his points, and 
tolerably intelligent, costs about 1000 piastres; girls are 
dearer, and eunuchs fetch double that sum. The older the 
children become, the more their value diminishes, and no 
one would purchase, save under exceptional circumstances, 
an adult slave, because he is never parted with but for 

* Physiologists have remarked that fat and greasy food, containing 
a quantity of carbon, is peculiar to cold countries, whereas the inhabit- 
ants of the tropics delight in fruits, vegetables, and articles of diet 
which do not increase caloric. This must be taken cum grano. In 
Italy, Spain, and Greece, the general use of olive oil begins. In Africa 
and Asia, especially in the hottest parts, the people habitually eat 
enough clarified butter to satisfy an Esquimaux. 


some incurable vice. The Abyssinian, mostly Galla, girls, 
so much prized because their skins are always cool in the 
hottest weather, are here rare; they seldom sell for less 
than 20£, and often fetch 60l. I never heard of a Jariyah 
Bayza, a white slave-girl, being in the market at El Medi- 
nah : in Circassia they fetch from 1001. to 4:001. prime cost, 
and few men in El Hejaz could afford so expensive a luxury. 
The bazaar at El Medinah is poor, and, as almost all the 
slaves are brought from Meccah by the Jallabs, or drivers, 
after exporting the best to Egypt, the town receives only 
the refuse.* 

The personal appearance of the Madani makes the stran- 
ger wonder how this mongrel population of settlers has 
acquired a peculiar and almost an Arab physiognomy. They 
are remarkably fair, the effect of a cold climate ; sometimes 
the cheeks are lighted up with red, and the hair is a dark 
chestnut — at El Medinah I was not stared at as a white man. 
In some points they approach the true Arab type, that is to 
say, the Bedouins of ancient and noble family. The cheek- 
bones are high and saillant, the eye small, more round than 
long, piercing, fiery, deep-set, and brown rather than black. 
The head is small, the ears well-cut, the face long and oval, 
though not unfrequently disfigured by what is popularly 
called the "lantern-jaw;" the forehead high, bony, broad, 
and slightly retreating, and the beard and mustachios scanty, 
consisting of two tufts upon the chin, with, generally speak- 
ing, little or no whisker. These are the points of resem- 
blance between the city and the country Arab. The dif- 
ference is equally remarkable. The temperament of the 

* Some of these slaves come from Abyssinia : the greater part are 
driven from the Galla country, and exported at the harbors of the So- 
mauli coast, Berberah, Tajurrah, and Zayla. As many as 2000 slaves 
from the former place, and 4000 from the latter, are annually shipped 
off to Mocha, Jeddah, Suez, and Muscat. 


Madam is not purely nervous, like that of the Bedouins, but 
admits a large admixture of the bilious and, though rarely, 
the lymphatic. The cheeks are fuller, the jaws project more 
than in the pure race, the lips are more fleshy, more sensual 
and ill-fitting, the features are broader, and the limbs are 
stouter and more bony. The beard is a little thicker, and 
the young Arabs of the towns are beginning to imitate the 
Turks in that abomination to their ancestors — shaving. 
Personal vanity, always a ruling passion among Orientals, 
and a hopeless wish to emulate the flowing beards of the 
Turks and the Persians — the only nations in the world who 
ought not to shave the chin — have overruled even the reli- 
gious objections to such innovation. I was more frequently 
appealed to at El Medinah than anywhere else, for some 
means of removing the opprobrium " Kusah."* They dye 
the beard with gall nuts, henna, and other preparations. 
Much refinement of dress is now found at El Medinah, Con- 
stantinople, the Paris of the East, supplying it with the 
newest fashions. The women dress, like the men, hand- 
somely. In-doors they wear, I am told, a boddice of calico 
and other stuffs, which supports the bosom without the evils 
of European stays. Over this is a wide shirt, of the white 
stuff called Halaili or Burunjuk, with enormous sleeves, and 
flowing down to the feet : the pantaloons are not wide, like 
the Egyptians, but rather tight, approaching to the Indian 
cut, without its exaggeration. Abroad, they throw over 
the head a silk or a cotton Milayah, generally chequered 
white and blue. Women of all ranks dye the soles of the 
feet and the palms of the hands black, and trace thin lines 
down the inside of the fingers, by first applying a plaster of 
henna and then a mixture, called " Shadar," of gall nuts, 
alum, and lime. The hair, parted in the centre, is plaited 

* A " scant-bearded man." 


into about twenty little twists called Jadilah.* Of orna- 
ments, as usual among Orientals, they have a vast variety, 
ranging from brass and spangles to gold and precious stones; 
and they delight in strong perfumes — musk, civet, amber- 
gris, attar of rose, oil of jasmine, aloe-wood, and extract of 
cinnamon. Both sexes wear Constantinople slippers. The wo- 
men draw on Khuff, inner slippers, of bright yellow leather, 
serving for socks, and covering the ancle, with papooshes 
of the same material, sometimes lined with velvet and em- 
broidered with a gold sprig under the hollow of the foot. 
In mourning the men show no difference of dress, like good 
Moslems, to whom such display of grief is forbidden. But 
the women, who cannot dissociate the heart and the toilette, 
evince their sorrow by wearing white clothes and by doffing 
their ornaments. This is a modern custom : the accurate 
Burckhardt informs us that in his day the women of El 
Medinah did not wear mourning. 

The Madani generally appear abroad on foot. Few 
animals are kept here, on account, I suppose, of the expense 
of feeding them. The Cavalry are mounted on poor Egyp- 
tian nags. The horses ridden by rich men are generally 
Nejdi, costing from 200 to 300 dollars. Camels are nume- 
rous, but those bred in El Hejaz are small, weak, and con- 
sequently little prized. Dromedaries of good breed are to 
be had for any sum between 10 and 400 dollars; they are 
diminutive but exceedingly swift, sure-footed, sagacious, 
thorough-bred, with eyes like the antelope, and muzzles that 
would almost enter a tumbler. Mules are not found at El 
Medinah, although popular prejudice does not now forbid 
the people to mount them. Asses come from Egypt and 

* In the plural called Jedail. It is a most' becoming head-dress 
when the hair is thick, and when — which I regret to say is rare in Ara- 
bia — the twists are undone for ablution once a day. 


The manners of the Madani are graver and somewhat 
more pompous than those of any Arabs with whom I ever 
mixed. This they appear to have borrowed from their 
rulers, the Turks. But their austerity and ceremoniousness 
are skin deep. In intimacy or in anger the garb of polite- 
ness is thrown off, and the screaming Arab voice, the voluble, 
copious, and emphatic abuse, and the mania for gesticula- 
tion, return in all their deformity. They are great talkers, 
as the following little trait shows. When a man is opposed 
to more than his match in disputing or bargaining, instead 
of patiently saying to himself sHl crache il est mort, he inter- 
rupts the adversary with a " Sail' ala Mohammed," — bless 
the Prophet. Every good Moslem is obliged to obey such 
requisition by responding, " Allahumma salli alayh," — O 
Allah bless him ! But the Madani curtails the phrase to 
" A'n," supposing it to be an equivalent, and proceeds in his 
loquacity. Then perhaps the baffled opponent will shout 
out " Wahhid," i. e. " Attest the unity of the Deity ;" when, 
instead of employing the usual religious phrases to assert 
that dogma, he will briefly ejaculate " Al," and hurry on 
with the course of conversation. As it may be supposed, 
these wars of words frequently end in violent quarrels. For, 
to do the Madani justice, they are always ready to fight. 

It is not to be believed that in a town garrisoned by 
Turkish troops, full of travelled traders, and which supports 
itself by plundering Hajis, the primitive virtues of the Arab 
could exist. The Meccans, a dark people, say of the 
Madani that their hearts are black as their skins are white. 
This is of course exaggerated ; but it is not too much to 
assert that pride, pugnacity, a peculiar point of honor, and 
a vindictiveness of wonderful force and patience, are the 
only characteristic traits of Arab character which the 
citizens of El Medinah habitually display. Here you meet 
with scant remains of the chivalry of the desert. A man 


will abuse his guest, even though he will not dine without 
him, and would protect him bravely against an enemy. 
And words often pass lightly between individuals which 
suffice to cause a blood feud amongst Bedouins. The out- 
ward appearance of decorum is conspicuous amongst the 
Madani. There are no places where Corinthians dwell, as 
at Meccah, Cairo, and Jeddah. Adultery, if detected, 
would be punished by lapidation according to the rigor of 
the Koranic law, and simple immorality by religious stripes, 
or, if of repeated occurrence, by expulsion from the city. But 
scandals seldom occur, and the women, I am told, behave 
with great decency. Abroad, they have the usual Moslem 
pleasures of marriage, lyings-in, circumcision feasts, holy 
visitations, and funerals. At home, they employ them- 
selves with domestic matters, and especially in scolding 
" Hasinah " and " Zaaferan." In this occupation they sur- 
pass even the notable English house-keeper of the middle 
orders of society — the latter being confined to " knagging 
at " her slave, whereas the Arab lady is allowed an un- 
bounded extent of vocabulary. At Shaykh Hamid's house, 
however, I cannot accuse the women of 

" Swearing into strong shudders 
The immortal gods who heard them." 

They abused the black girls with unction, but without any 
violent expletives. At Meccah, however, the old lady in 
whose house I was living would, when excited by the me- 
lancholy temperament of her eldest son and his irregular 
hours of eating, scold him in the grossest terms not unfre- 
quently ridiculous in the extreme. For instance, one of her 
assertions was that he — the son — was the offspring of an 
immoral mother ; which assertion, one might suppose, 
reflected not indirectly upon herself. So in Egypt I have 


frequently heard a father, when reproving his boy, address 
him by " O dog, son of a dog ! " and " O spawn of an infi- 
del — of a Jew — of a Christian." Amongst the men of El 
Medinah I remarked a considerable share of hypocrisy. 
Their mouths were as full of religious salutations, exclama- 
tions, and hacknied quotations from the Koran as of inde- 
cency and vile abuse, — a point in which they resemble the 
Persians. As before observed, they preserve their repu- 
tation as the sons of a holy city by praying only in public. 
At Constantinople they are by no means remarkable for 
sobriety. Intoxicating liquors, especially araki, are made 
in El Medinah only by the Turks ; the citizens seldom in- 
dulge in this way at home, as detection by smell is 
imminent among a people of water-bibbers. During the 
whole time of my stay I had to content myself with a single 
bottle of cognac, colored and scented to resemble medicine. 
The Madani are, like the Meccans, a curious mixture of 
generosity and meanness, of profuseness and penuriousness. 
But the former quality is the result of ostentation, the latter 
a characteristic of the Semitic race, long ago made familiar 
to Europe by the Jew. Above all their qualities, personal 
conceit is remarkable ; they show it in their strut, in their 
looks, and almost in every word. " I am such a one, the 
son of such a one," is a common ' expletive, especially in 
times of danger ; and this spirit is not wholly to be con- 
demned, as it certainly acts as an incentive to gallant 
actions. But it often excites them to vie with one another 
in expensive entertainments and similar vanities. Upon the 
whole, though alive to the infirmities of the Madani charac- 
ter, I thought favorably of it, finding among this people 
more of the redeeming point, manliness, than in most 
Eastern nations with whom I am acquainted. 

The Arabs, like the Egyptians, all marry. Yet, as 
usual, they are hard and facetious upon that ill-treated sub- 


ject matrimony. It has exercised not a little the brain of 
their wits and sages, who have not failed to indite notable 
things concerning it. Saith "Harikar el Hakim" to his 
nephew Nadan, whom he would dissuade from taking to 
himself a wife, " Marriage is joy for a month and sorrow 
for life, and the paying of settlements and the breaking of 
back (i. e. under the load of misery), and the listening to a 
woman's tongue !" And again, we have in verse : — 

" They said, ' Marry !' I replied, ' far be it from me 
To take to my bosom a sackful of snakes. 
I am free — why then become a slave ? 
May Allah never bless womankind!'" 

And the following lines are generally quoted, as affording 
a kind of bird's-eye view of female existence : — 

" From 10 (years of age) unto 20, 
A repose to the eyes of beholders. 
From 20 unto 30, 
Still fair and full of flesh. 
From 30 unto 40, 
A mother of many boys and girls. 
From 40 unto 50, 
An old woman of the deceitful. 
From 50 unto 60, 
Slay her with a knife. 
From 60 unto 10, 
The curse of Allah upon them, one and all ! 

Another popular couplet makes a most unsupported asser- 
tion : — 

" They declare womankind to be heaven to man, 
I say, ' Allah give me Jehannum, and not this heaven."' 

Yet the fair sex has the laugh on its side, for these railers, 
at El Medinah as in other places, invariably marry. The 


ceremony is tedious and expensive. It begins with a Khit- 
bah or betrothal : the father of the young man repairs to 
the parent or guardian of the marriageable girl, and at the 
end of his visit exclaims, " The Fat-Hah ! we beg of your 
kindness your daughter for our son." Should the other be 
favorable to the proposal, his reply is, " Welcome and con- 
gratulation to you ; but we must perform Istikharah ;"* 
and when consent is given, both pledge themselves to the 
agreement by reciting the Fat-Hah. Then commence ne- 
gotiations about the Mahr or sum settled upon the bride ;f 
and after the smoothing of this difficulty follow feastings 
of friends and relatives, male and female. The marriage 
itself is called Akd el Nikah or Ziwaj. A Walimah or 
banquet is prepared by the father of the ArisJ at his own 
house, and the Kazi attends to perform the nuptial cere- 
mony, the girl's consent being obtained through her Wakil, 
any male relation whom she commissions to act for her. 
Then, with great pomp and circumstance, the Aris visits 
his Arusah at her father's house ; and finally, with a Zuffah 
or procession and sundry ceremonies at the Harani, the 
bride is brought to her new home. 

Arab funerals are as simple as their marriages are com- 
plicated. Neither Naddabah (myriologist or hired keener), 

* This means consulting the will of the Deity, by praying for a 
dream in sleep, by the rosary, by opening the Koran, and other such 
devices, which bear blame if a negative be deemed necessary. It is a 
custom throughout the Moslem world, a relic, doubtless, of the Azlam 
or Kidah (seven divining-arrows) of the Pagan times. At El Medinah 
it is generally called Khirah. 

\ Among respectable citizens 400 dollars would be considered a fair 
average sum ; the expense of the ceremony would be about half. This 
amount of ready money (150J.) not being always procurable, many of 
the Madani marry late in life. 

\ El Aris is the bridegroom, El Arusah the bride. 


nor indeed any female, even a relation, is present at burials, 
as in other parts of the Moslem world,* and it is esteemed 
disgraceful for a man to weep aloud. The Prophet, who 
doubtless had heard of those pagan mournings, where an 
effeminate and unlimited display of woe was often termi- 
nated by licentious excesses, like our half-heathen " wakes," 
forbad aught beyond a decent demonstration of grief. And 
his strong good sense enabled him to see the folly of pro- 
fessional mourners. At El Medinah the corpse is interred 
shortly after decease. The bier is carried through the 
streets at a moderate pace, by the friends and the relatives, 
these bringing up the rear. Every man who passes lends 
his shoulder for a minute, a mark of respect to the dead, 
and also considered a pious and a prayerful act. Arrived 
at the Haram, they carry the corpse in visitation to the 
Prophet's window, and pray over it at Osman's niche. 
Finally, it is interred after the usual Moslem fashion in the 
.cemetery El Bakia. 

El Medinah, though pillaged by the Wahhabis, still 
abounds in books. Near the Haram are two Madrasah or 
colleges — the Mahmudiyah, so called from Sultan Mahmud, 
and that of Bashir Agha : both have large stores of the- 
ological and other works. I also heard of extensive private 
collections, particularly of one belonging to the chief of the 
Sayyids, a certain Mohammed Jemal el Lail, whose father 
is well known in India. Besides which, there is a large 
bequest of books presented to the mosque or entailed upon 
particular families. The celebrated Mohammed Ibn Ab- 
dillah El Sannusi has removed his collection, amounting, it 
is said, to 8000 volumes, from El Medinah to his house in 

* Boys are allowed to be present, but they are not permitted to cry. 
Of their so misdemeaning themselves there is little danger ; the Arab 
in these matters is a man from his cradle. 


Jebcl Kubays at Meccah. The burial-place of the Prophet 
no longer lies open to the charge of utter ignorance brought 
against it by my predecessor. The people now praise their 
Ulema for learning, and boast a superiority in respect to 
science over Meccah. Yet many students leave the place 
for Damascus and Cairo, where the Riwak El Haramain 
(college of the two shrines) in the Azhar mosque is always 
crowded, and though Omar Effendi boasted to me that hits 
city was full of lore " as an egg is full of meat," he did 
not appear the less anxious to attend the lectures of Egyp- 
tian professors. But none of my informants claimed for El 
Medinah any facilities of studying other than the purely 
religious sciences. Philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, ma- 
thematics, and algebra cannot be learnt here. But after 
denying the Madani the praise of varied learning, it must 
be owned that their quick observation and retentive me- 
mories have stored up for them an abundance of superficial 
knowledge, culled from conversations in the market and in 
the camp. I found it impossible here to display those feats 
which in Sindh, Southern Persia, Eastern Arabia, and many 
parts of India, would be looked upon as miraculous. Most 
probably one of the company had witnessed the per- 
formance of some Italian conjuror, at Constantinople or 
Alexandria, and retained a lively recollection of every 
manoeuvre. As linguists they are not equal to the Meccans, 
who surpass all Orientals excepting only the Armenians; 
the Madani seldom know Turkish, and more rarely still 
Persian and Indian. Those only who have studied in 
Egypt chant the Koran well. The citizens speak and 
pronounce their language purely: they are not equal to 
the people of the southern Hejaz, still their Arabic is 
refreshing after the horrors of Cairo and Muscat. 




A quarrel which was renewed about this time between 
two rival families of the Beni Harb put an end to any lin- 
gering possibility of my prosecuting my journey to Muscat, 
as originally intended. My disappointment was bitter at 
first, but consolation soon suggested itself. Under the most 
favorable circumstances, a Bedouin-trip from El Medinah 
to Muscat, 1500 or 1600 miles, would require at least ten 
months ; whereas, under pain of losing my commission,* I 
was ordered to be at Bombay before the end of March. 
Moreover, entering Arabia by El Hejaz, as has before been 
said, I was obliged to leave behind all my instruments 
except a watch and a pocket compass, so the benefit 
rendered to geography by my trip would have been scanty. 
Still remained to me the comfort of reflecting that possibly 
at Meccah some opportunity of crossing the Peninsula 
might present itself. At any rate I had the certainty of 
seeing the strange wild country of the Hejaz, and of being 
present at the ceremonies of the Holy City. 

* The parliamentary limit of an officer's leave from Tndia is five 
years : if he overstay that period, he forfeits his commission. 


I must request the reader to bear with a Visitation once 
more : we shall conclude it with a ride to El Bakia. This 
venerable spot is frequented by the pious every day after 
the prayer at the Prophet's Tomb, and especially on Fri- 
days. The least we can do is to go there once. 

Our party started one morning, — on donkeys, as usual, 
for my foot was not yet strong, — along the Darb el Jenazah 
round the southern wall of the town. The locomotives 
were decidedly slow, principally in consequence of the tent- 
ropes which the Hajis had pinned down literally over the 
plain, and falls were by no means infreqnent. At last we 
arrived at the end of the Darb, where I committed myself 
by mistaking the decaying place of those miserable schis- 
matics the Xakhawilah for El Bakia, the glorious cemetery 
of the Saints. Hamid corrected my blunder with tartness, 
to which I replied as tartly, that in our country — Afghan- 
istan — we burned the body of every heretic upon whom we 
could lay our hands. This truly Islamitic custom was heard 
with general applause, and as the little dispute ended, we 
stood at the open gate of El Bakia. Then having dis- 
mounted I sat down on a low Dakkah or stone bench within 
the walls, to obtain a general view and to prepare for the 
most fatiguing of the visitations. 

The burial-place of the Saints is an irregular oblong 
surrounded by walls which are connected with the suburb 
at their S. W. angle. Around it palm plantations seem to 
flourish. It is small, considering the extensive use made 
of it : all that die at El Medinah, strangers as well as 
natives, except only heretics and schismatics, expect to be 
interred in it. It must be choked with corpses, which it 
could not contain did not the Moslem style of burial greatly 
favor rapid decomposition, and it has all the inconveniences 
of " intramural sepulture." The gate is small and ignoble ; 
a mere doorway in the Avail. Inside there are no flower- 


plots, no tall trees, in fact none of the refinements which 
lighten the gloom of the Christian burial-place : the build- 
ings are simple, they might even be called mean. Almost 
all are the common Arab mosque, cleanly white-washed, 
and looking quite new. The ancient monuments were 
levelled to the ground by Saad the Wahhabi and his 
puritan followers, who waged pitiless warfare against what 
must have appeared to them magnificent mausolea, deeming 
as they did a loose heap of stones sufficient for a grave. In 
Burckhardt's time the whole place was a "confused ac- 
cumulation of heaps of earth, wide pits, and rubbish, 
without a single regular tomb-stone." The present erec- 
tions owe their existence, I was told, to the liberality of the 
Sultans Abd El Hamid and Mahmud. 

A poor pilgrim has lately started on his last journey, and 
his corpse, unattended by friends or mourners, is carried 
upon the shoulders of hired buriers into the cemetery. 
Suddenly they stay their rapid steps, and throw the body 
upon the ground. There is a life-like pliability about it 
as it falls, and the tight cerements so define the outlines 
that the action makes me shudder. It looks almost as if 
the dead pilgrim were conscious of what is about to occur. 
They have forgotten their tools; one man starts to fetch 
them, and three sit down to smoke. After a time a shallow 
grave is hastily scooped out. The corpse is packed into it 
with such unseemly haste that earth touches it in all direc- 
tions, — cruel carelessness among Moslems, who believe this 
to torture the sentient frame. One comfort suggests itself. 
The poor man being a pilgrim has died Shahid — in martyr- 
dom. Ere long his spirit shall leave El Bakia, 

" And he on honey-dew shall feed, 
And drink the milk of Paradise." 

I entered the holy cemetery right foot forwards, as if it 


were a mosque, and barefooted, to avoid suspicion of being 
a heretic. For though the citizens wear their shoes in the 
Bakia, they are much offended at seeing the Persians fol- 
low their example. — 

Walking down a rough narrow path, which leads from 
the western to the eastern extremity of El Bakia, we entered 
the humble mausoleum of the caliph Osman — Osman " El 
Mazlum," or the " ill-treated," he is called by some Moslem 
travellers. When he was slain, his friends wished to bury 
him. by the Prophet in the Hujrah, and Ayisha made no 
objection to the measure. But the people of Egypt became 
violent, swore that the corpse should neither be buried nor 
be prayed over, and only permitted it to be removed upon 
the threat of Habibah (one of the " Mothers" of the Mos- 
lems, and daughter of Abu Sufi y an) to expose her counte- 
nance. During the night that followed his death Osman 
was carried out by several of his friends to El Bakia, from 
which, however, they were driven away, and obliged to 
deposit their burden in a garden, eastward of and outside 
the saints' cemetery. It was called Husn Kaukab, and was 
looked upon as an inauspicious place of sepulture, till Mar- 
wan included it in El Bakia. 

Then moving a few paces to the north, we faced east- 
wards, and performed the visitation of Abu Said el Khazari, 
a Sahib or companion of the Prophet, whose sepulchre lies 
outside El Bakia. The third place visited was a dome con- 
taining the tomb of our lady Halimah, the Bedouin wet- 
nurse who took charge of Mohammed.* 

After which, fronting the north, we stood before a low 

* This -woman, according to some accounts, also saved Mohammed's 
life, when an Arab Kahin or diviner, foreseeing that the child was des- 
tined to subvert the national faith, urged the bystanders to bury their 
swords in his bosom. 


enclosure, containing ovals of loose stones, disposed side by 
side. These are the martyrs of El Bakia, who received the 
crown of glory at the hands of El Muslim, the general of 
the arch-heretic Yezid. The fifth station is near the centre 
of the cemetery at the tomb of Ibrahim, who died, to the 
eternal regret of El Islam, some say six months old, others 
in his second year. He was the son of Mariyah, the Coptic 
girl, sent as a present to Mohammed by Jarih, the governor 
of Alexandria. The Prophet with his own hand piled earth 
upon the grave, and sprinkled it with water, — a ceremony 
then first performed, — disposed small stones upon it, and 
pronounced the final salutation.* Then we visited El Nafi 
Maula, son of Omar, generally called Imam Nan* el Kari, or 
the Koran chaunter ; and near him the great doctor Imam 
Malik ibn Anas, a native of El Medinah, and one of the 
most dutiful of her sons. The eighth station is at the tomb 
of Ukayl bin Abi Talib, brother of Ali. Then we visited the 
spot where lie interred all the Prophet's wives, Ayisha 
included.! After the " Mothers of the Moslems," we 
prayed at the tombs of Mohammed's daughters, said to be 
ten in number. 

In compliment probably to the Hajj, the beggars mus- 
tered strong that morning at El Bakia. Along the walls 
and at the entrance of each building squatted ancient 
dames, all engaged in fervent contemplation of every 
approaching face, and in pointing to dirty cotton napkins 
spread upon the ground before them, and studded with a 
few coins, gold, silver, or copper, according to the expec- 

* For which reason many holy men were buried in this part of the 
cemetery, every one being ambitious to he in ground which had been 
honored by the Prophet's hands. 

\ Khadijah, who lies at Meccah, is the only exception. Mohammed 
married fifteen wives, of whom nine survived him. 


tations of the proprietress. They raised their voices to 
demand largesse : some promised to write Fat-Fahs, and the 
most audacious seized visitors by the skirts of their gar- 
ments. Fakihs, ready to write "Y. S." or anything else 
demanded of them, covered the little heaps and eminences 
of the cemetery, all begging lustily, and looking as though 
they would murder you, when told how beneficent is Allah.* 
At the doors of the tombs old housewives, and some young 
ones also, struggled with you for your slippers as you 
doffed them, and not unfrequently the charge of the pair 
was divided between two. Inside when the boys were not 
loud enough or importunate enough for presents, they were 
urged on by the adults and seniors, the relatives of the 
" Khadims" and hangers-on. Unfortunately for me, Shaykh 
Hamid was renowned for taking charge of wealthy pil- 
grims : the result was, that my purse was lightened of three 
dollars. I must add that although at least fifty female 
voices loudly promised that morning, for the sum of ten 
paras each, to supplicate Allah in behalf of my lameness, no 
perceptible good came of their efforts. 

Before leaving El Bakia, we went to the eleventh 
station, the Kubbat el Abbasiyah, or Dome of Abbas. 
Originally built by the Abbaside Caliphs in a. h. 519, it is 
a larger and a handsomer building than its fellows, and is 
situated on the right hand side of the gate as you enter in. 
The crowd of beggars at the door testified to its import- 
ance : they were attracted by the Persians who assemble 
here in force to weep and pray. Crossing the threshold 
with some difficulty, I walked round a mass of tombs which 
occupies the centre of the building, leaving but a narrow 
passage between it and the walls. It is railed round, 
covered over with several " kiswahs" of green cloth, worked 

* A polite form of objecting to be charitable. 


with white letters, and looked like a confused heap ; but it 
might have appeared irregular to me by the reason of the 
mob around. The eastern portion contains the body of El 
Hasan, the son of Ali, and grandson of the Prophet ; the 
Imam Zayn el Abidin, son of El Hosayn, and great-grand- 
son to the Prophet ; the Imam Mohammed El Bakir (fifth 
Imam), son to Zayn el Abidin ; and his son the Imam 
Jaafar el Sadik — all four descendants of the Prophet, and 
buried in the same grave with Abbas ibn Abd el Muttaleb, 
uncle to Mohammed. 

We stood opposite this mysterious tomb, and repeated, 
with difficulty by reason of the Persians weeping, the fol- 
lowing supplication : — " Peace be with ye, O family of the 
Prophet ! O Lord Abbas, the free from impurity and un- 
cleanness, and father's brother to the best of men ! And 
thou too, O Lord Hasan, grandson of the Prophet ! And 
thou too, O Lord Zayn el Abidin ! Peace be with ye, one 
and all, for verily God hath been pleased to free you from 
all guile, and to purify you with all purity. The mercy of 
Allah and his blessings be upon you, and verily he is the 
Praised, the Mighty !" After which, freeing ourselves from 
the hands of greedy boys, we turned round and faced the 
southern wall, close to which is a tomb attributed to the 
Lady Fatimah.* I will not repeat the prayer, it being the 
same as that recited in the Haram. 

* Moslem historians seem to delight in the obscurity -which hangs 
over the lady's last resting-place, as if it were an honor even for the 
receptacle of her ashes to be concealed from the eyes of men. Some 
place her in the Haram, relying upon this tradition : — Fatimah, feeling 
about to die, rose up joyfully, performed the greater ablution, dressed 
herself in pure garments, spread a mat upon the floor of her house near 
the Prophet's Tomb, lay down fronting the Kiblah, placed her hand 
under her cheek, and said to her attendant, " I am pure and in a pure 
dress; now let no one uncover my body, but bury me where I lie!" 


Issuing from the hot and crowded dome, we recovered 
our slippers after much trouble, and found that our gar- 
ments had suffered from the frantic gesticulations of the 
Persians. We then walked to the gate of El Bakia, stood 
facing the cemetery upon an elevated piece of ground, and 
delivered the general benediction. 

After which, issuing from El Bakia,* we advanced 
northwards, leaving the city gate on the left hand, and 
came to a small Kubbah close to the road. It is visited as 
containing the tomb of the Prophet's paternal aunts. Hur- 
rying over our directions here, — for we Avere tired in- 
deed, — we applied to a Sakka for water, and entered a lit- 
tle coffee-house near the gate of the town, after which we 
rode home. 

I have now described, I fear at a wearying length, the 
spots visited by every Zair at El Medinah. The guide-books 
mention altogether between fifty and fifty-five mosques and 
other holy places, most of which are now unknown even 
by name to the citizens. 

Besides fourteen principal mosques, and which actually 
have a " local habitation," I find the names, and nothing 
but the names, of forty mosques. The reader loses little by 
my unwillingness to offer him a detailed list of such appel- 

"When Ali returned he found his wife dead, and complied with her last 
wishes. Omar bin Abd el Aziz believed this tradition, when he included 
the room in the mosque ; and generally in El Islam Fatimah is supposed 
to be buried in the Ilaram. 

* The other celebrities in El Bakia are, Fatimah bint Asad, mother 
of Ali. She was buried with great religious pomp. The Prophet 
shrouded her with his own garment (to prevent hell from touching 
her), dug her grave, lay down in it (that it might never squeeze or be 
narrow to her), assisted in carrying the bier, prayed over her, and pro- 
claimed her certain of future felicity. Over her tomb was written, 
t; The grave hath not closed upon one like Fatimah, daughter of 



lations as Masjid Beni Abdel Ashhal, Masjid Beni Harisah, 
Masjid Beni Haram, Masjid el Fash, Masjid El Sukiya, 

" Cum multis aliis quse nunc perscribere longum est." 

The Damascus caravan was to start on the 27th Zu'l 
Kaadah (1st September). I had intended to stay at El 
Medinah till the last moment, and to accompany the Kafi- 
lat el Tayyarah, or the " Flying Caravan," which usually 
leaves on the 2nd Zu'l Hijjah, two days after that of 

Suddenly arose the rumor that there would be no Tay- 
yarah,* and that all pilgrims must proceed with the Da- 
mascus caravan, or await the Rakb or dromedary-caravan. 
The Sherif Zayd, Saad the Robber's only friend, had paid 
him an unsuccessful visit. Schinderhans demanded back 
his Shaykh-ship, in return for a safe-conduct through his 
country : " Otherwise," said he, " I will cut the throat of 
every hen that ventures into the passes." 

The Sherif Zayd returned to El Medinah on the 25th 
Zu'l Kaadah (30th August). Early on the morning of the 
next day, Shaykh Hamid returned hurriedly from the ba- 
zaar, exclaiming, " You must make ready at once, EfFendi ! 
— there will be no Tayyarah — all Hajis start to-morrow — 
Allah will make it easy to you ! — have you your water- 
skins in order? — you are to travel down the Darb El 
Sharki, where you will not see water for three days !" 

Poor Hamid looked horror-struck as he concluded this 
fearful announcement, which filled me with joy. Burck- 
hardt had visited and described the Darb El Sultani, the 
"High" or "Royal road" along the coast. But no Euro- 
pean had as yet travelled down by Harun El Rashid's and 

* The " Tayyarah," or " Flying Caravan," is lightly laden, and tra- 
vels by forced marches. 


the Lady Zubaydah's celebrated route through the Nejd 

Not a moment, however, was to be lost : we expected 
to start early the next morning. The boy Mohammed 
went forth, and bought for eighty piastres a shugduf, which 
lasted us throughout the pilgrimage, and for fifteen piastres 
a shibriyah or cot to be occupied by Shaykh Nur, who did 
not relish sleeping on boxes. The youth was employed all 
day, with sleeves tucked up and working like a porter, in 
covering the litter with matting and rugs, in mending bro- 
ken parts, and in providing it with large pockets for provi- 
sions inside and outside, with pouches to contain the gug- 
glets of cooled water. 

Meanwhile Shaykh Nur and I, having inspected the 
water-skins, found that the rats had made considerable 
rents in two of them. There being no workman procurable 
at this time for gold, I sat down to patch the damaged 
articles, whilst Nur was sent to lay in provisions for four- 
teen days.* By my companion's advice I took wheat-flour, 
rice, turmeric, onions, dates, unleavened bread of two 
kinds, cheese, limes, tobacco, sugar, tea and coffee. 

Hamid himself started upon the most important part of 
our business. Faithful camel-men are required upon a road 
where robberies are frequent and stabbings occasional, and 
where there is no law to prevent desertion or to limit new 
and exorbitant demands. After a time he returned, accom- 
panied by a boy and a Bedouin, a short, thin, well-built old 
man with regular features, a white beard, and a cool clear 
eye ; his limbs, as usual, were scarred with wounds. Masud, 
of the Rahlah, a sub-family of the Hamidah family of the 

* The journey is calculated at eleven days ; but provisions are apt 
to spoil, and the Bedouin camel-men expect to be fed. Besides which, 
pilferers abound. 


Beni Harb, came in with a dignified demeanor, applied his 
dexter palm to ours, sat down, declined a pipe, accepted 
coffee, and after drinking it, looked at us to show that he 
was ready for negotiation. We opened the proceedings 
with " We want men and not camels," and the conversa- 
tion proceeded in the purest Hejazi. After much discus- 
sion we agreed, if compelled to travel by the Darb El 
Sharki, to pay twenty dollars for two camels, and to ad- 
vance arbun or earnest-money to half that amount. The 
Shaykh bound himself to provide us with good animals, 
which moreover were to be changed in case of accidents ; 
he was also to supply his beasts with water, and to accom- 
pany us to Arafat and back. But, absolutely refusing to 
carry my large box, he declared that the tent under the 
shugduf was burden enough for one camel, and that the 
small green case of drugs, the saddle-bags, and the pro- 
vision-sacks surmounted by Nur's cot, were amply suffi- 
cient for the other. On our part we bound ourselves to 
feed the Shaykh and his son, supplying them either with 
raw or with cooked provender, and, upon our return to 
Meccah from Mount Arafat, to pay the remaining hire with 
a discretionary present. 

Hamid then addressed to me flowery praises of the 
old Bedouin. After which, turning to the latter, he ex- 
claimed, " Thou wilt treat these friends well, O Masud the 
Harbi ! " The ancient replied with a dignity that had no 
pomposity in it, — " Even as Abu Shawarib — the Father of 
Mustachios * — behaveth to us, so will we behave to him ! " 
He then arose, bade us be prepared when the departure- 

* Most men of the Shafei school clip their mustachios exceedingly 
short ; some clean shave the upper lip, the imperial, and the parts of 
the beard about the corners of the mouth, and the fore-part of the 
cheeks. I neglected so to do, which soon won for me the epithet re- 
corded above. 

ADIEUS. 301 

gun sounded, saluted us, and stalked out of the room, fol- 
lowed by his son, who, under pretext of dozing, had men- 
tally made an inventory of every article in the room, our- 
- selves especially included. 

When the Bedouins disappeared, Shaykh Hamid shook 
his head, advising me to give them plenty to eat, and never 
to allow twenty-four hours to elapse without dipping hand 
in the same dish with them, hi order that the party might 
always be " malihin," — on terms of salt. He concluded with 
a copious lecture upon the villany of Bedouins, and their 
habit of drinking travellers' water. I was to place the 
skins on a camel in front, and not behind ; to hang the 
skins with their mouths carefully tied, and turned upwards, 
contrary to the general practice ; always to keep a good 
store of liquid, and at night to place it under the safeguard 
of the tent. 

In the afternoon, Omar Effendi and others dropped in 
to take leave. They found me in the midst of preparations, 
sewing sacks, fitting up a pipe, patching water-bags, and 
packing medicines. My fellow-traveller had brought me 
some pencils, and a pen-knife, as " forget-me-nots," for we 
were by no means sure of meeting again. He hinted, 
however, at another escape from the paternal abode, and 
proposed, if possible, to join the Dromedary-Caravan. 
Shaykh Hamid said the same, but I saw by the expression 
of his face, that his mother and wife would not give him 
leave from home so soon after his return. 

Towards evening time the Barr el Munakhah became a 
scene of exceeding confusion. The town of tents lay upon 
the ground. Camels were being laden, and were roaring 
under the weight of litters, cots, boxes, and baggage. 
Horses and mules gallopped about. Men were rushing 
wildly in all directions on worldly errands, or hurrying to 
pay a farewell visit to the Prophet's Tomb. Women and 


children sat screaming on the ground, or ran about dis- 
tracted, or called their vehicles to escape the danger of 
being crushed. Every now and then a random shot excited 
all into the belief that the departure-gun had sounded. At 
times we heard a volley from the robbers' hills, which 
elicited a general groan, for the pilgrims were still, to use 
their own phrase, "between fear and hope," and, con- 
sequently, still far from " one of the two comforts."* Then 
would sound the loud " Jhin-Jhin" of the camels' bells, as 
the stately animals paced away with some grandee's gilt 
and emblazoned litter, the sharp grunt of the dromedary, 
and the loud neighing of excited steeds. 

About an hour after sunset all our preparations were 
concluded, save only the shugduf, at which the boy 
Mohammed still worked with untiring zeal ; he wisely 
remembered that in it he had to spend the best portion 
of a week and a half. The evening was hot, we therefore 
dined outside the house. I was told to repair to the 
Haram for the "Farewell Visitation;" but my decided 
objection to this step was that we were all to part, — how 
soon ! — and when to meet again we knew not. My com- 
panions smiled consent, assuring me that the ceremony 
could be performed as well at a distance as in the temple. 

Then began the uncomfortable process of paying off 
little bills. The Eastern creditor always, for divers reasons, 
waits the last moment before he claims his debt. Shaykh 
Hamid had frequently hinted at his difficulties; the only 
means of escape from which, he said, was to rely upon 
Allah. He had treated me so hospitably, that I could not 
take back any part of the hi. lent to him at Suez. His three 

* The " two comforts" are success and despair ; the latter, accord- 
ing to the Arabs, being a more enviable state of feeling than doubt or 
hope deferred. 


brothers received a dollar or two each, and one or two 
of his cousins hinted to some effect that such a proceeding 
would meet with their approbation. 

The luggage was then carried down, and disposed in 
packs upon the ground before the house, so as to be ready 
for loading at a moment's notice. Many flying parties 
of travellers had almost started on the high road, and late 
in the evening came a new report that the body of the 
caravan would march about midnight. We sat up till 
about 2 a. m., when, having heard no gun, and seen no 
camels, we lay down to sleep through the sultry remnant 
of the hours of darkness. 

Thus, gentle reader, was spent my last night at El 

I had reason to congratulate myself upon having passed 
through the first danger. Meccah is so near the coast, that, 
in case of detection, the traveller might escape in a few 
hours to Jeddah, where he would find an English vice- 
consul, protection from the Turkish authorities, and possibly 
a British cruiser in the harbor. But at El Medinah dis- 
covery would entail more serious consequences. The next 
risk to run was the journey between the two cities, on 
which it would be easy for the local officials quietly to 
dispose of a suspected person by giving a dollar to a Be- 



Four roads lead from El Medinah to Meccah. The " Darb 
El Sultani," or " Sultan's Way," follows the line of coast : 
this "General Passage" has been minutely described by my 
great predecessor. The "Tarik El Ghabir," a mountain 
path, is avoided by the Mahmal and the great caravans, on 
account of its rugged passes ; water abounds along the 
whole line, but there is not a single village ; and the Sobh 
Bedouins, who own the soil, are inveterate plunderers. The 
route called "Wady El Kura" is a favorite with drome- 
dary-caravans ; on this road are two or three small settle- 
ments, regular wells, and free passage through the Beni 
Amr tribe. The Darb El Sharki, or " Eastern road," down 
which I travelled, owes its existence to the piety of Zubay- 
dah Khatun, wife of Harun el Rashid. That estimable 
princess dug wells from Baghdad to El Medinah, and built, 
we are told, a wall to direct pilgrims over the shifting sands. 
There is a fifth road, or rather mountain path, concerning 
which I can give no information. 

At 8 a. m. on Wednesday, the 26th Zu'l Kaadah (31st 
August, 1853), as we were sitting at the window of Hamid's 


house after our early meal, suddenly appeared, in hottest 
haste, Masud, our Camel-Shaykh. He was accompanied by 
his son, a bold boy about fourteen years of age, who fought 
sturdily about the weight of each package as it was thrown 
over the camel's back ; and his nephew, an ugly pock- 
marked lad, too lazy even to quarrel. We were ordered to 
lose no time in loading ; all started into activity, and at 9 
a. m. I found myself standing opposite the " Egyptian Gate," 
surrounded by my friends, who had accompanied me thus 
far on foot, to take leave with due honor. After affectionate 
embraces and parting mementoes, we mounted, the boy 
Mohammed and I in the shugduf, or litter, and Shaykh Nur 
in his shibriyah, or cot. Then, in company with some 
Turks and Meccans, for Masud owned a string of nine 
camels, we passed through the little gate near the castle, 
and shaped our course towards the north. On our right lay 
the palm-groves, which conceal this part of the city ; far to 
the left rose the domes of Hamzah's Mosques at the foot of 
Mount Ohod ; and in front a band of road crowded with 
motley groups, stretched over a barren stony plain. 

After an hour's slow march, we fell into the Nejd road, 
and came to a place called El Ghadir, or the Basin. There 
we halted and turned to take a farewell of the Holy City. 
All the pilgrims dismounted and gazed at the venerable 
minarets and the Green Dome, spots upon which their me- 
mory would ever dwell with a fond and yearning interest. 

Remounting at noon we crossed a fiumara which runs, 
according to my Camel-Shaykh, from N". to S. ; we were 
therefore emerging from the Medinah basin. The sky began 
to be clouded, and although the air was still full of simoom, 
cold draughts occasionally poured down from the hills. 
Arabs fear this 

" bitter change 
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce," 


and call that a dangerous climate which is cold in the hot 
season and hot in the cold. Travelling over a rough and 
stony path, dotted with thorny acacias, we arrived about 2 
p. m. at the bed of lava heard of by Burckhardt. The aspect 
of the country was volcanic, abounding in basalts and scoriae, 
more or less porous. I made diligent enquiries about the 
existence of active volcanoes in this part of El Hejaz, and 
heard of none. 

At 5 p. m., travelling towards the East, we entered a 
pass, which follows the course of a wide fiumara, walled in 
by steep and barren hills — the portals of a region too wild 
even for Bedouins. The torrent-bed narrowed where the 
turns were abrupt, and the drift of heavy stones, with a 
water-mark from 6 to 7 feet high, showed that after rains a 
violent stream runs from E. and S.E. to W. and N.W. 
The fertilising fluid is close to the surface, evidenced by a 
spare growth of acacia, camel-grass, and at some angles of 
the bed by the Daum, or Theban palm.* I remarked what 
are technically called " Hufrah," holes dug for water in the 
sand ; and my guide assured me that somewhere near there 
is a spring flowing from the rocks. 

After the long and sultry afternoon, beasts of burden 
began to sink in considerable numbers. The fresh carcasses 
of asses, ponies, and camels dotted the way-side : those that 
had been allowed to die were abandoned to the foul carrion- 
birds, the Rakham (vulture), and the yellow Ukab ; and all 
whose throats had been properly cut were surrounded by 
troops of Takruri pilgrims. These half-starved wretches 
cut steaks from the choice portions, and slung them over 
their shoulders till an opportunity for cooking might arrive. 
I never saw men more destitute. They carried wooden 

* This is the palm, capped with large fan-shaped leaves, described 
by every traveller in Egypt and the nearer East. 


bowls, which they filled with water by begging ; their only 
weapon was a small knife, tied in a leathern sheath above 
the elbow ; and their costume an old skull-cap, strips of 
leather tied like sandals under the feet, and a long dirty 
shirt, or sometimes a mere rag covering the loins. Some 
were perfect savages, others had been fine-looking men, 
broad-shouldered and long-limbed; many were lamed by 
fatigue and thorns; and looking at most of them, I saw 
death depicted in their forms and features. 

After two hours' slow marching up the fiumara east- 
wards, we saw in front of us a wall of rock, and turning 
abruptly southwards, we left the bed, and ascended rising 
ground. Already it was night ; an hour, however, elapsed 
before we saw, at a distance, the twinkling fires, and heard 
the watch-cries of our camp. It was pitched in a hollow, 
under hills, in excellent order, the Pacha's pavilion sur- 
rounded by his soldiers and guards disposed in tents, with 
sentinels, regularly posted, protecting the outskirts of the 
encampment. One of our men, whom we had sent forward, 
met us on the way, and led us to an open place, where we 
unloaded the camels, raised our canvas home, lighted fires, 
and prepared, with supper, for a good night's rest. Living 
is simple on such marches. The pouches inside and outside 
the shugduf contain provisions and water, with which you 
supply yourself when inclined. At certain hours of the 
day, ambulant vendors offer sherbet, lemonade, hot coffee, 
and water-pipes admirably prepared.* Chibouques may be 
smoked in the litter; but few care to do so during the 
simoom. The first thing, however, called for at the halt- 

* The charge for a cup of coffee is one piastre and a half. A pipe- 
bearer will engage himself for about 1/. per mensem; he is always a 
veteran smoker, and in these regions, it is an axiom that the flavor of 
your pipe mainly depends on the filler. 


ing-place is the pipe, and its delightful soothing influence, 
followed by a cup of coffee, and a "forty winks" upon the 
sand, will awaken an appetite not to be roused by other 
means. How could Waterton, the traveller, abuse the 
pipe ? During the night halt, provisions are cooked : rice, 
or kichri, a mixture of pulse and rice, are eaten with Chut- 
nee and lime-pickle, varied, occasionally, by tough mutton 
and indigestible goat. 

"We arrived at Ja El Sherifah at 8 p. m. after a march 
of about twenty-two miles.* This halting-place is the ren- 
dezvous of caravans: it lies 50° S.E. of El Medinah, and 
belongs rather to Nejd than to El Hejaz. 

At 3 a. m., on Thursday, we started up at the sound of 
the departure-gun, struck the tent, loaded the camels, 
mounted, and found ourselves hurrying through a gloomy 
pass, in the hills, to secure a good jdace in the caravan. 
This is an object of some importance, as, during the whole 
journey, marching order must not be broken. We met 
with a host of minor accidents, camels falling, shugdufs 
bumping against one another, and plentiful abuse. Per- 
tinaciously we hurried on till 6 a. m., at which hour we 
emerged from the black pass. The large crimson sun rose 
upon us, disclosing, through purple mists, a hollow of coarse 
yellow gravel, based upon a hard whitish clay. Entering 
it, we dismounted, prayed, broke our fast, and after half 
an hour's halt proceeded to cross its breadth. The appear- 
ance of the caravan was most striking, as it threaded its 

* A day's journey in Arabia is generally reckoned at twenty-four or 
twenty-five Arab miles. Abulfeda leaves the distance of a Marhalah (or 
Manzil, a station) undetermined. El Idrisi reckons it at thirty miles, 
but speaks of short as well as long marches. 

The only ideas of distance known to the Bedouin of El Hejaz are the 
fanciful Saat or hour, and the uncertain Manzil or halt ; the former varies 
from 2 to Z\ miles, the latter from 15 to 25 miles. 


slow way over the smooth surface of the low plain. To 
judge by the eye, there were at least 7,000 souls, on foot, 
on horseback, in litters, or bestriding the splendid camels 
of Syria. There were eight gradations of pilgrims. The 
lowest hobbled with heavy staves. Then came the riders of 
asses, camels, and mules. Respectable men, especially Arabs, 
mounted dromedaries, and the soldiers had horses : a led 
animal was saddled for every grandee, ready whenever he 
might wish to leave his litter. Women, children, and inva- 
lids of the poorer classes sat upon a " haml musattah," — 
bits of cloth spread over two large boxes which formed the 
camel's load. Many occupied shibriyahs, a few, shugdufs, 
and only the wealthy and the noble rode in Takhtrawan 
(litters), carried by camels or mules.* The morning beams 
fell brightly upon the glancing arms which surrounded the 
stripped Mahmal,f and upon the scarlet and gilt litters of 
the grandees. Not the least beauty of the spectacle was 
its wondrous variety of detail : no man was dressed like his 
neighbor, no camel was caparisoned, nor horse clothed in 
uniform, as it were. And nothing stranger than the con- 
trast ; — a band of half-naked Takruri marching with the 
Pacha's equipage, and long-capped, bearded Persians con- 
versing with Tarbushed and shaven Turks. 

* The vehicle mainly regulates the expense, as it evidences a man's 
means. I have heard of a husband and wife leaving Alexandria with 
three months' provision and the sum of Si. They would mount a camel, 
lodge in public buildings, when possible, probably be reduced to beg- 
gary, and possibly starve on the road. On the other hand the minimum 
expenditure, — for necessaries, not donations and luxuries, — of a man 
who rides in a Takhtrawan from Damascus and back, would be about 

\ On the line of march the Mahmal, stripped of its embroidered 
cover, is carried on camel-back, a mere framewood. Even the gilt silver 
balls and crescent are exchanged for similar articles in brass. 


The plain even at an early hour reeked with vapors 
distilled by the fires of the simoom : about noon, however, 
the air became cloudy, and nothing of color remained, save 
that white haze, dull, but glaring withal, which is the pre- 
vailing day-tint in these regions. At mid-day we reached a 
narrowing of the basin, where, from both sides, " Irk," or 
low hills, stretch their last spurs into the plain. But after 
half a mile, it again widened to upwards of two miles. At 
2 p. m. we turned towards the S.W., ascended stony ground, 
and found ourselves one hour afterwards in a desolate rocky 
flat, distant about twenty-four miles of unusually winding 
road from our last station. 

After pitching the tent, we prepared to recruit our sup- 
ply of water ; for Masud warned me that his camels had not 
drunk for ninety hours, and that they would soon sink under 
the privation. The boy Mohammed, mounting a drome- 
dary, set off with the Shaykh and many water-bags, giving 
me an opportunity of writing out my journal. They did 
not return home till after nightfall, a delay caused by many 
adventures. The wells are in a fiumara, as usual, about two 
miles distant from the halting-place, and the soldiers, regular 
as well as irregular, occupied the water and exacted hard 
coin in exchange for it. The men are not to blame ; they 
would die of starvation, but for this resource. The boy Mo- 
hammed had been engaged in several quarrels ; but after 
snapping his pistol at a Persian pilgrim's head, he came forth 
triumphant with two skins of sweetish water, for which we 
paid ten piastres. He was in his glory. There were many 
Meccans in the caravan, among them his elder brother and 
several friends ; the Sherif Zayd had sent, he said, to ask 
why he did not travel with his compatriots. That evening 
he drank so copiously of clarified butter, and ate dates 
mashed with flour and other abominations to such an extent, 
that at night he prepared to give up the ghost. We passed 


a pleasant hour or two before sleeping. I began to like the 
old Shaykh Masud, who, seeing it, entertained me with his 
genealogy, his battles, and his family affairs. The rest of 
the party could not prevent expressing contempt when they 
heard me putting frequent questions about torrents, hills, 
Bedouins, and the directions of places. " Let the Father of 
Mustachios ask and learn," said the old man ; " he is friendly 
with the Bedouins, and knows better than you all." This 
reproof was intended to be bitter as the poet's satire, — 

"All fools have still an itching to deride, 
And fain would be upon the laughing side." 

It called forth, however, another burst of merriment, for the 
jeerers remembered my nickname to have belonged to that 
pestilent heretic, Saud the Wahhabi. 

On Saturday, the 3rd September, that hateful signal-gun 
awoke us at 1 a. m. In Arab travel there is nothing more 
disagreeable than the Sariyah or night-march, and yet the 
people are inexorable about it. " Choose early darkness 
(Daljah) for your wayfarings," said the Prophet, " as the 
calamities of the earth — serpents and wild beasts — appear 
not at night." I can scarcely find words to express the 
weary horrors of a long night's march, during which the 
hapless traveller, fuming, if a European, with disappoint- 
ment in his hopes of " seeing the country," is compelled to 
sit upon the back of a creeping camel. The day sleep too is 
a kind of lethargy, and it is all but impossible to preserve an 
appetite during the hours of heat. 

At half-past 5 a. m., after drowsily stumbling through 
hours of outer darkness, we entered a spacious basin at least 
six miles broad, and limited by a circlet of low hill. It was 
overgrown with camel-grass and acacia trees — mere vege- 
table mummies ; — in many places the water had left a mark ; 


and here and there the ground was pitted with mud-flakes, 
the remains of recently dried pools. After an hour's rapid 
march we toiled over a rugged ridge, composed of broken 
and detached blocks of basalt and scoriae, fantastically piled 
together, and dotted with thorny trees. It was wonderful 
to see the camels stepping from block to block with the 
sagacity of mountaineers ; assuring themselves of their fore- 
feet before trusting all their weight to advance. Not a 
camel fell, either here or on any other ridge : they moaned, 
however, piteously, for the sudden turns of the path puzzled 
them ; the ascents were painful, the descents were still more 
so ; the rocks were sharp, deep holes yawned between the 
blocks, and occasionally an acacia caught the shugduf, 
almost overthrowing the hapless bearer by the suddenness 
and the tenacity of its clutch. 

Descending the ridge, we entered another hill-encircled 
basin of gravel and clay. In many places basalt in piles and 
crumbling strata of hornblende schiste, disposed edgeways, 
green within, and without blackened by sun and rain, 
cropped out of the ground. At half-past ten we found our- 
selves in an " acacia-barren," one of the things which pil- 
grims dread. Here shugdufs are bodily pulled off the 
camel's back and broken upon the hard ground ; the animals 
drop upon their knees, the whole line is deranged, and every 
one, losing his temper, attacks his Moslem Brother. The 
road was flanked on the left by an iron wall of black basalt. 
Noon brought us to another ridge, whence we descended 
into a second wooden basin surrounded by hills. 

Here the air was filled with those pillars of sand so gra- 
phically described by Abyssinian Bruce. They scudded on 
the wings of the whirlwind over the plain — huge yellow 
shafts, with lofty heads, horizontally bent backwards, in the 
form of clouds ; and on more than one occasion camels were 
overthrown by them. It required little stretch of fancy to 


enter into the Arab's superstition. These sand-columns are 
supposed to be genii of the waste, which cannot be caught — 
a notion arising from the fitful movements of the wind-eddy 
that raises them — and, as they advance, the pious Moslem 
stretches out his finger, exclaiming, " Iron ! O thou ill- 
omened one !" 

During the forenoon we were troubled with simoom, 
which, instead of promoting perspiration, chokes up and 
hardens the skin. The Arabs complain greatly of its vio- 
lence on this line of road. Here I first remarked the diffi- 
culty with which the Bedouins bear thirst. Ya Latif — O ! 
Merciful Lord — they exclaimed at times, and yet they 
behaved like men.* I had ordered them to place the water- 
camel in front, so as to exercise due supervision. Shaykh 
Masud and his son made only an occasional reference to the 
skins. But his nephew, a short, thin, pock-marked lad of 
eighteen, whose black skin and woolly head suggested the 
idea of a semi- African and ignoble origin, was always drink- 
ing ; except when he climbed the camel's back, and, dozing 
upon the damp load, forgot his thirst. In vain we ordered, 
we taunted, and we abused him : he would drink, he would 
sleep, but he would not work. 

* The Eastern Arabs allay the torments of thirst by a spoonful of 
clarified butter, carried on journeys in a leathern bottle. Every Euro- 
pean traveller has some recipe of his own. One chews a musket-bullet 
or a small stone. A second smears his legs with butter. Another eats 
a crust of dry bread, which exacerbates the torments, and afterwards 
brings relief. A fourth throws water over his face and hands or his 
legs and feet ; a fifth smokes, and a sixth turns his dorsal region (raising 
his coat-tail) to the fire. I have always found that the only remedy is 
to be patient and not to talk. The more you drink, the more you 
require to drink — water or strong waters. But after the first two hours' 
abstinence you have mastered the overpowering feeling of thirst, and 
then to refrain is easy. 



Early in the afternoon we reached a diminutive flat, on 
a fiumara bank. Beyond it lies a Mahjar or stony ground, 
black as usual in El Hejaz, and over its length lay the 
road, white with dust and the sand deposited by the 
camels' feet. Having arrived before the Pacha, we did not 
know where to pitch ; many opining that the caravan would 
traverse the Mahjar and halt beyond it. We soon alighted, 
however, pitched the tent under a burning sun, and were 
imitated by the rest of the party. 

We loitered on Sunday, the 4th September, at El Hij- 
riyah, although the Shaykh forewarned us of a long march. 
But there is a kind of discipline in these great caravans. A 
gun sounds the order to strike the tents, and a second bids 
you march off with all speed. There are short halts of half 
an hour each at dawn, noon, the afternoon, and sunset, for 
devotional purposes, and these are regulated by a cannon 
or a culverin. At such times the Syrian and Persian ser- 
vants, who are admirably expert in their calling, pitch the 
large green tents, with gilt crescents, for the dignitaries 
and their hareems. The last resting-place is known by the 
hurrying forward of these " Farrash,"* who are determined 
to be the first on the ground and at the well. A discharge 
of three guns denotes the station, and when the caravan 
moves by night, a single cannon sounds three or four halts 
at irregular intervals. 

Leaving our camp at seven a.m., we passed over the 
grim stone-field by a detestable footpath, and at nine 
o'clock struck into a broad fiumara, which runs from the 
east towards the north-west. Up this line we travelled the 
whole day. About six p.m., we came upon a basin at least 
twelve miles broad, which absorbs the water of the adjacent 
hills. Accustomed as I have been to mirage, a long thin 

* Tent-pitchers, <fec. 


line of salt efflorescence appearing at some distance on the 
plain below us, when the shades of evening invested the 
view, completely deceived me. Even the Arabs were 
divided in opinion, some thinking it was the effects of the 
rain which fell the day before : others were more acute.* 
Upon the horizon beyond the plain rose dark, fort-like 
masses of rock which I mistook for buildings, the more 
readily as the Shaykh had warned me that we were 
approaching a populous place. At last descending a long 
steep hill, we entered upon the level ground, and discovered 
our error by the crunching sound of the camels' feet upon 
large curling flakes of nitrous salt overlying caked mud. 
Those civilised birds, the kite and the crow, warned us that 
we were in the vicinity of man. It was not, however, 
before eleven p.m., that we entered the confines of El 
Suwayrkiyah. The fact was made patent to us by the 
stumbling and the falling of our dromedaries over the little 
ridges of dried clay disposed in squares upon the fields. 
There were other obstacles, such as garden walls, wells, and 
hovels, so that midnight had sped before our weary camels 
reached the resting-place. A rumor that we were to halt 
here the next day, made us think lightly of present troubles ; 
it proved, however, to be false. 

During the last four days I attentively observed the 
general face of the country. This line is a succession of 
low plains and basins, here quasi-circular, there irregularly 
oblong, surrounded by rolling hills and cut by fiumaras 
which passed through the higher ground. The basins are 
divided by ridges and flats of basalt and greenstone ave- 

* It is said that beasts are never deceived by the mirage, and this, 
as far as my experience goes, is correct. May not the reason be that 
most of them know the vicinity of water rather by smell than by 


raging from 100 to 200 feet in height. The general form 
is a huge prism ; sometimes there is a table on the top. 
From El Medinah to El Suwayrkiyah the low beds of 
sandy fiumaras abound. Water obtained by digging is 
good where rain is fresh in the fiumaras ; saltish, so as to 
taste at first unnaturally sweet, in the plains, and bitter in 
the basins and lowlands where nitre effloresces and rain has 
had time to become tainted. The landward faces of the 
hills are disposed at a sloping angle, contrasting strongly 
with the perpendicularity of their seaward sides, and I saw 
no inner range corresponding with, and parallel to, the 
maritime chain. Nowhere is there a land in which Earth's 
anatomy lies so barren, or one richer in volcanic and pri- 
mary formations. Especially towards the south, the hills 
are abrupt and highly vertical, with black and barren 
flanks, ribbed with furrows and fissures, with wide and for- 
midable precipices and castellated summits like the work 
of man. The predominant formation was basalt, called by 
the Arabs Hell-stone ; here and there it is porous and cellu- 
lar ; in some places compact and black ; and in others 
coarse and gritty, of a tarry color, and when fractured, 
shining with bright points. Hornblende abounds at El 
Medinah and throughout this part of El Hejaz : it crops 
out of the ground edgeways, black and brittle. Green- 
stone, diorite, and actinolite are found, though not so 
abundantly as those above mentioned. The granites, called 
in Arabic Suwan,* abound. Some are large grained, of a 
jink color, and appear in blocks, which, flaking off under 
the influence of the atmosphere, form into ooidal blocks and 

* The Arabic language has a copious terminology for the mineral 
as well as the botanical productions of the country : with little altera- 
tion it might be made to express all the requirements of our modern 


boulders piled in irregular heaps. Others are grey and 
compact enough to take a high polish when cut. The 
syenite is generally coarse, although there is occasionally 
found a rich red variety of that stone. I have never seen 
Eurite or Euritic porphyry except in small pieces, and the 
same may be said of the petrosilex and the milky quartz. 
In some parts, particularly between Yambu and El Medi- 
nah, there is an abundance of tawny yellow gneiss mark- 
edly stratified. The transition formations are represented 
by a fine calcareous sandstone of a bright ochre color ; it is 
used at Meccah to adorn the exteriors of houses, bands of 
this stone being here and there inserted into the courses of 
masonry. There is also a small admixture of the greenish 
sandstone which abounds at Aden. The secondary forma- 
tion is represented by a fine limestone, in some places 
almost fit for the purposes of lithography, and a coarse 
gypsum often of a tufaceous nature. The maritime towns 
are mostly built of coralline. For the superficial accumu- 
lations of the country, I may refer the reader to any 
description of the Desert between Cairo and Suez. 



I will not apologize for entering into details concerning 
the personate of the Bedouins : a precise physical portrait 
of race, it has justly been remarked, is the sole deficiency 
in the otherwise perfect pages of Bruce and Burckhardt. • 

The temperament of the Hejazi is not unfrequently the 
pure nervous, as the height of the forehead and the fine 
texture of the hair prove. Sometimes the bilious, and 
rarely the sanguine, elements predominate : the lymphatic 
I never saw. He has large nervous centres, and well 
formed spine and brain, a conformation favorable to longe- 
vity. Bartema well describes his color as a " dark leonine:" 
it varies from the deepest Spanish to a chocolate hue, and 
its varieties are attributed by the people to blood. The 
skin is hard, dry, and soon wrinkled by exposure. The 
xanthous complexion is rare, though not unknown in cities, 
but the leucous docs not exist. The crinal hair is fre- 
quently lightened by bleaching, and the pilar is generally 
browner than the crinal. The voice is strong and clear, but 
rather barytone than bass: in anger it becomes a shrill 
chattering like the cry of a wild animal. The look of a 


chief is dignified and grave, even to pensiveness ; the 
" respectable man's " is self-sufficient and fierce ; the lower 
orders look ferocious or stupid and inquisitive. Yet there 
is not much difference in this point between men of the 
same tribe, who have similar pursuits which engender simi- 
lar passions. " Expression " is the grand diversifier of ap- 
pearance among civilized people : in, the desert it knows 
few varieties. 

The Bedouin cranium is small, ooidal, long, high, nar- 
row, and remarkable in the occiput for the development of 
Gall's second propensity : the crown slopes upwards towards 
the region of firmness, which is elevated ; whilst the sides 
are flat to a fault. The hair, exposed to sun, wind, and 
rain, acquires a coarseness not natural to it : worn in rag- 
ged elf-locks, hanging down to the breast, or shaved in the 
form " Shushah," nothing can be wilder than its appear- 
ance. The face is made to be a long oval, but want of flesh 
detracts from its regularity. The forehead is high, broad, 
and retreating : the upper portion is moderately developed ; 
but nothing can be finer than the lower brow, and the 
frontal sinuses stand out, indicating bodily strength and 
activity of character. The eyebrows are long, bushy, and 
crooked, broken, as it were, at the angle where " order " is 
supposed to be, and bent in sign of thoughtfulness. Most 
popular writers, following De Page, describe the Arab eye 
as large, ardent, and black. The Bedouin of the Hejaz, 
and indeed the race generally, has a small eye, round, rest- 
less, deep-set and fiery, denoting keen inspection with an 
ardent temperament and an impassioned character. Its 
color is dark brown or green brown, and the pupil is often 
speckled. The habit of pursing up the skin below the 
orbits and half closing the lids to prevent dazzle, plants the 
outer angles with premature crow's feet. Another peculi- 
arity is the sudden way in which the eye opens, especially 


under excitement. This, combined with its fixity of gaze, 
forms an expression now of lively fierceness, then of exceed- 
ing sternness ; whilst the narrow space between the orbits 
impresses the countenance in repose with an intelligence 
not destitute of cunning. As a general rule, however, the 
expression of the Bedouin's face is rather dignity than that 
of cunning, for which the Semitic race is celebrated, and 
there are lines about the mouth in variance with the stern 
or the fierce look of the brow. The ears are like those of 
Arab horses, small, well-cut, "castey" and elaborate, with 
many elevations and depressions. His nose is pronounced, 
generally aquiline, but sometimes straight like those Greek 
statues w T hich have been treated as prodigious exaggera- 
tions of the facial angle. For the most part, it is a well- 
made feature with delicate nostrils below which the septum 
appears : in anger they swell and open like a perfectly bred 
mare's. I have, however, seen, in not a few instances, pert 
and offensive "pugs." Deep furrows descend from the 
wings of the nose, showing an uncertain temper, now too 
grave, then too gay. The mouth is irregular. The lips 
are either hordes, denoting rudeness and want of taste, or 
they form a mere line. In the latter case there is an ap- 
pearance of undue development in the upper portion of the 
countenance, especially when the jaws are ascetically thin, 
and the chin weakly retreats. The latter feature, however, 
is generally well and strongly made. The teeth, as usual 
among Orientals, are white, even, short, and broad — indi- 
cations of strength. Some tribes trim their moustachios 
according to the " Sunnat ; " the Shafei often shave them, 
and many allow them to hang Persian-like over the lips. 
The beard is represented by two tangled tufts upon the 
chin ; where whisker should be, the place is either bare or 
thinly covered with straggling pile. 

The Bedouins of El Hejaz are short men, about the 


height of the Indians near Bombay, but weighing on an 
average a stone more. As usual in this stage of society, 
stature varies little ; you rarely see a giant, and scarcely 
ever a dwarf. Deformity is checked by the Spartan 
restraint upon population, and no weakly infant can live 
through a Bedouin life. The figure, though spare, is square 
and well knit, fulness of limb never appears but about 
spring when milk abounds : I have seen two or three mus- 
cular figures, but never a fat man. The neck is sinewy, the 
chest broad, the flank thin, and the stomach in-drawn ; the 
legs, though fleshless, are well-made, especially when the 
knee and ankle are not bowed by too early riding. The 
shins seldom bend to the front as in the African race. The 
arms are thin, with muscles like whip-cords, and the hands 
and feet are, in point of size and delicacy, a link between 
Europe and India. As in the Celt, the Arab thumb is 
remarkably long, extending almost to the first joint of the 
index, which, with its easy rotation, makes it a perfect pre- 
hensile instrument : the palm also is fleshless, small-boned, 
and elastic. With his small active figure it is not strange 
that the wildest Bedouin's gait should be pleasing; he 
neither unfits himself for walking, nor distorts his ankles 
by turning out his toes according to the farcical rule of 
fashion, and his shoulders are not dressed like a drill 
sergeant's, to throw all the weight of the body upon the 
heels. Yet there is no slouch in his walk; it is light and 
springy, and errs only in one point, sometimes becoming a 
kind of strut. 

Such is the Bedouin, and such he has been for ages. 
The national type has been preserved by systematic inter- 
marriage. The wild men do not refuse their daughters to a 
stranger, but the son-in-law would be forced to settle among 
them, and this life, which has charms for a while, ends in 
becoming wearisome. Here no evil results are anticipated 



from the union of first cousins, and the experience of ages 
and of a nation may be trusted. Every Bedouin has a 
right to marry his father's brother's daughter before she is 
given to a stranger ; hence " cousin" in polite phrase signi- 
fies a " wife." Our physiologists* adduce the Sangre Azul 
of Spain and the case of the lower animals to prove that 
degeneracy inevitably follows " breeding-in."f Either they 
have theorised from insufficient facts, or civilisation and 
artificial living exercise some peculiar influence, or Arabia 
is a solitary exception to a general rule. The fact which I 
have mentioned is patent to every Eastern traveller. 

After this weary description, the reader will perceive 
with pleasure that we are approaching an interesting theme, 
the first question of mankind to the wanderer — " What are 
the women like?" Truth compels me to state that the 
women of the Hejazi Bedouins are by no means comely. 
Although the Beni Amur boast of some pretty girls, yet 
they are far inferior to the high-bosomed beauties of Nejol. 
The Hejazi woman's eyes are fierce, her features harsh, and 
her face haggard ; like all people of the South, she soon 
fades, and in old age her appearance is truly witch-like. 
Withered crones abound in the camps, where old men are 
seldom seen. 

The manners of the Bedouins are free and simple: 
"vulgarity" and affectation, awkwardness and embarrass- 

* Dr. Howe (Report on Idiotcy in Massachusetts, 1848,) asserts that 
" the law against the marriage of relations is made out as clearly as 
though it were written on tables of stone." He proceeds to show that 
in seventeen households where the parents were connected by blood, 
of ninety-five children one was a dwarf, one deaf, twelve scrofulous, 
and forty-four idiots — total fifty-eight diseased ! 

f Yet the celebrated " Flying Childers" and all his race were 
remarkably bred in. There is still, in my humble opinion, much 
mystery about the subject, to be cleared up only by the studies of 


ment, are weeds of civilised growth, unknown to the people 
of the desert. Yet their manners are sometimes dashed with 
a strange ceremoniousness. When two friends meet, they 
either embrace, or both extend their right hands, clapping 
palm to palm ; their foreheads are either pressed together, 
or their heads moved from side to side, whilst for minutes 
together mutual inquiries are made and answered. It is a 
breach of decorum, even when eating, to turn the back upon 
a person, and when a Bedouin does it he intends an insult. 
When a friend approaches the camp — it is not done to 
strangers for fear of startling them — those who catch sight 
of him shout out his name, and gallop up saluting with 
lances or firing matchlocks in the air. This is the well- 
known gunpowder play. As a general rule the Bedouins 
are polite in language, but in anger temper is soon shown, 
and although life may not be in peril, the foulest epithets, 
dog, drunkard, liar and infidel, are discharged like pistol 
shots by both parties. 

The best character of the Bedouin is a truly noble 
compound of determination, gentleness, and generosity. 
Usually they are a mixture of worldly cunning and great 
simplicity, sensitive to touchiness, good-tempered souls, 
solemn and dignified withal, fond of a jest yet of a grave 
turn of mind, easily managed by a laugh and a soft word, 
and placable after passion, though madly revengeful after 
injury. The reader will inquire, like the critics of a certain 
modern humorist, how the fabric of society can be sup- 
ported by such material. In the first place, it is a kind 
of " societe leonine^ in which the fiercest, the strongest, 
the craftiest obtains complete mastery over his fellows, and 
this gives a key-stone to the arch. Secondly, there is the 
terrible blood-feud, which even the most reckless fear for 
their posterity. And, thirdly, though the revealed law 
of the Koran, being insufficient for the desert, is openly 


disregarded, the immemorial customs of the "Kazi el 
Arab " * form a system stringent in the extreme. 

The valor of the Bedouin is fitful and uncertain, and his 
ideas of bravery do not prepossess us. His romances, full 
of foolhardy feats and impossible exploits, might charm for 
a time, but would not become the standard works of a 
really fighting people. Nor would a truly valorous race 
admire the timid freebooters who safely fire down upon 
caravans from their eyries. Arab wars, too, are a succes- 
sion of skirmishes, in which 500 men will retreat after losing 
a dozen of their number. In this partisan fighting the first 
charge secures a victory, and the vanquished fly till covered 
by the shades of night. Then come cries of women, deep 
oaths, wild poetry, excitement, and reprisals, which will 
probably end in the flight of the former victor. When 
peace is to be made, both parties count up their dead, and 
the usual blood-money is paid for excess on either side. 
Generally, however, the feud endures till all becoming 
weary of it, some great man, as the sherif of Meccah, is 
called upon to settle the terms of a treaty, which is nothing 
but an armistice. After a few months' peace, a glance or 
a word will draw blood, for these hates are old things, and 
new dissensions easily shoot up from them. 

But, contemptible though their battles be, the Bedouins 
are not cowards. The habit of danger in raids and blood- 
feuds, the continual uncertainty of existence, the desert, 
the chase, the hard life and exposure to the air, blunting 
the nervous system ; the presence and the practice of 
weapons of horsemanship, sharpshooting, and martial exer- 
cises, habituate them to look death in the face like men, 

* The " Kazi el Arab" (Judge of the Arabs) was in distinction to 
the Kazi el Shara, or the Kazi of the Koran. The former was, almost 
always, some sharp-witted greybeard, with a minute knowledge of 
genealogy and precedents, a retentive memory and an eloquent tongue. 


and powerful motives will make them heroes. The Eng- 
lish, it is said, fight willingly for liberty, our neighbors for 
glory ; the Spaniard fights, or rather fought, for religion 
and the " Pundonor," and the Irishman fights for the fun 
of fighting. Gain and revenge draw the Arab's sword : 
yet then he uses it fitfully enough, without the gay gal- 
lantry of the French or the persistency of the Anglo-Saxon. 
To become desperate he must have the all powerful stimu- 
lants of honor and fanaticism. Frenzied by the taunts of 
his women, or by the fear of being branded as a coward, 
he is capable of any mad deed. And the obstinacy pro- 
duced by strong religious impressions gives a steadfastness 
to his spirit unknown to mere enthusiasm. 

There are two things which tend to soften the ferocity 
of Bedouin life. These are, in the first place, intercourse 
with citizens, who frequently visit and entrust their chil- 
dren to the people of the Black tents ; and, secondly, the 
social position of the women. 

The author of certain " Lectures on Poetry, addressed 
to Working Men," asserts that Passion became Love under 
the influence of Christianity, and that the idea of a virgin 
mother spread over the sex a sanctity unknown to the 
poetry or the philosophy of Greece and Rome. Passing 
over the objections of deified Eros and Immortal Psyche 
and of the virgin mother, — symbol of moral purity, — being 
common to all old and material faiths, I believe that all the 
noble tribes of savages display the principle. Thus we 
might expect to find wherever the fancy, the imagination, 
and the ideality are strong, some traces of a sentiment 
innate in the human organization. It exists, says Mr. Cat- 
lin, amongst the North American Indians, and even the 
Gallas and the Somal of Africa are not wholly destitute of it. 
But when the barbarian becomes a semi-barbarian, as are 
the most polished Orientals, or as were the classical authors 


of Greece and Rome, then women fall from their proper 
place in society, become mere articles of luxury, and sink 
into the lowest moral condition.* In the next stage, " civi- 
lization," they rise again to be " highly accomplished," and 
not a little frivolous. 

Were it not evident that the spiritualising of sexuality 
by imagination is universal among the highest orders of 

* Miss Martineau, when travelling through Egypt, once visited a 
harem, and there found, among many things, especially in their igno- 
rance of books and book-making, materials for a heart-broken wail over 
the degradation of her sex. The learned lady indulges, too, in sundry 
strong and unsavory comparisons between the harem and certain haunts 
of vice in Europe. 

On the other hand, male travellers generally speak lovingly of the 
harem. Sonnini, no admirer of Egypt, expatiates on "the generous 
virtues, the examples of magnanimity and affectionate attachment, the 
sentiments ardent, yet gentle, forming a delightful unison with personal 
charms in the harems of the Mamelukes." 

As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. 
Human nature, all the world over, differs but in degree. Everywhere 
women may be " capricious, coy, and hard to please " in common con- 
junctures: in the hour of need they will display devoted heroism. 
Any chronicler of the Afghan war will bear witness that warm hearts, 
noble sentiments, and an overflowing kindness to the poor, the weak, 
and the unhappy, are found even in a harem. Europe now knows that 
the Moslem husband provides separate apartments and a distinct esta- 
blishment for each of his wives, unless, as sometimes happens, one be an 
old woman and the other a child. And, confessing that envy, hatred, 
and malice often flourish in polygamy, the Moslem asks, Is monogamy 
open to no objections? As far as my limited observations go, poly- 
andry is the only state of society in which jealousy and quarrels about 
the sex are the exception and not the rule of life. 

In quality of doctor I have seen a little and heard much of the 
harem. It very much resembles a European home composed of a man, 
his wife, and his mother. And I have seen in the West many a " happy 
fire-side " fitter to make Miss Martineau's heart ache than any harem in 
Grand Cairo. 


mankind, I should attribute the origin of love to the influ- 
ence of the Arabs' poetry and chivalry upon European 
ideas rather than to mediaeval Christianity. 

In pastoral life, tribes often meet for a time, live together 
whilst pasturage lasts, and then separate perhaps for a gene- 
ration. Under such circumstance youths will lose heart to 
maidens, whom possibly, by the laws of the clan, they may 
not marry,* and the light o' love will fly her home. The 
fugitives must brave every danger, for revenge, at all times 
the Bedouin's idol, now becomes the lode-star of his exist- 
ence. But the Arab lover will dare all consequences. 
" Men have died and the worms have eaten them, but not for 
love," may be true in the West ; it is false in the East. This 
is attested in every tale where love, and not ambition, is the 
groundwork of the narrative. f And nothing can be more 
tender, more pathetic than the use made of these separations 
and long absences by the old Arab poets. Whoever peruses 
the Suspended Poem of Lebid, will find thoughts at once 
so plaintive and so noble, that even Dr. Carlyle's learned 
verse cannot wholly deface their charm. The author returns 
from afar. He looks upon the traces of hearth and home 
still furrowing the desert ground. In bitterness of spirit 

* There is no objection to intermarriage between equal clans, but 
the higher will not give their daughters to the lower in dignity. 

f For instance : " A certain religious man was so deeply affected 
with the love of a king's daughter, that he was brought to the brink of 
the grave," is a favorite inscriptive formula. Usually the hero " sickens 
in consequence of the heroine's absence, and continues to the hour of 
his death in the utmost grief and anxiety." He rarely kills himself, 
but sometimes, when in love with a pretty infidel, he drinks wine and 
he burns the Koran. The " hated rival" is not a formidable person ; 
but there are for good reasons great jealousy of female friends, and not a 
little fear of the beloved's kinsmen. Such are the material sentiments ; 
the spiritual part is a thread of mysticism, upon which all the pearls of 
adventure and accident are strung. 


he checks himself from calling aloud upon his lovers and 
his friends. He melts at the remembrance of their depart- 
ure, and long indulges in the absorbing theme. Then he 
strengthens himself by the thought of Nawara's inconstancy, 
how she left him and never thought of him again. He 
impatiently dwells upon the charms of the places which 
detain her, advocates flight from the changing lover and 
the false friend, and, in the exultation with which he feels 
his swift dromedary start under him upon her rapid course, 
he seems to find some consolation for woman's perfidy and 
forgetfulness. Yet he cannot abandon Nawara's name or 
memory. Again he dwells with yearning upon scenes of 
past felicity, and he. boasts of his prowess — a fresh reproach 
to her — of his gentle birth, and of his hospitality. He ends 
with an encomium upon his clan, to which he attributes, as 
a noble Arab should, all the virtues of man. This is Gold- 
smith's deserted village in El Hejaz. But the Arab, with 
equal simplicity and pathos, has a fire, a force of language, 
and a depth of feeling, which the Irishman, admirable as 
his verse is, could never rival. 

In the early days of El Islam, if history be credible, 
Arabia had a race of heroines. Within the last century, 
Ghaliyah, the wife of a Wahhabi chief, opposed Mohammed 
Ali himself in many a bloody field. A few years ago, when 
Ibn Asm, popularly called Ibn Rumi, chief of the Zabayd 
clan about Rabigh, was treacherously slain by the Turkish 
general, Kurdi Usman, his sister, a fair young girl, deter- 
mined to revenge him. She fixed upon the " Arafat-day" 
of pilgrimage for the accomplishment of her designs, dis- 
guised herself in male attire, drew her kerchief in the form 
" lisam" over the lower part of her face, and with lighted 
match awaited her enemy. The Turk, however, was not 
present, and the girl was arrested to win for herself a local 
reputation equal to the maid of Salamanca. Thus it is that 


the Arab has learned to swear that great oath " by the 
honor of my women." 

The Bedouins are not without a certain Platonic affection, 
which they call " Hawa uzri," — pardonable love. They 
draw the fine line between amant and amoureux : this is 
derided by the townspeople, little suspecting how much 
such a custom says in favor of the wild men. In the cities, 
however, it could not prevail. Arabs, like other Orientals, 
hold that, in such matters, man is saved, not by faith, but 
by want of faith. They have also a saying, not unlike 
ours — 

" She partly is to blame who has been tried, 
He comes too near who comes to be denied." 

The evil of this system is that they, like certain southerns, 
pensano sempre al male — always suspect, which may be 
worldly wise, and also always show their suspicions, which 
is assuredly foolish. For thus they demoralize their women, 
who might be kept in the way of right by self-respect and 
a sense of duty. 

From ancient periods of the Arab's history we find him 
practising " knight-errantry," the wildest form of chivalry. 
" The Songs of Antar," says the author of the " Crescent 
and the Cross," " show little of the true chivalric spirit." 
What thinks the reader of sentiments like these ? " This 
valiant man," remarks Antar (who was " ever interested 
for the weaker sex"), " hath defended the honor of women." 
We read in another place, " Mercy, my lord, is the noblest 
qnality of the noble." Again, " It is the most ignominious 
of deeds to take free-born women prisoners." " Bear not 
malice, O Shibub," quoth the hero, " for of malice good 
never came." Is there no true greatness in this sentiment ? 
— " Birth is the boast of the faineant; noble is the youth 
who beareth every ill, who clotheth himself in mail during 


the noon-tide heat, and who wandereth through the outer 
darkness of night." And why does the " knight of knights" 
love Ibla ? Because " she is blooming as the sun at dawn, 
with hair black as the midnight shades, with Paradise in 
her eye, her bosom an enchantment, and a form waving 
like the tamarisk when the soft wind blows from the hills 
of Nejd ?" Yes, but his chest expands also with the 
thoughts of her "faith, purity, and affection," — it is her 
moral as well as her material excellence that makes her the 
hero's " hope, and hearing, and sight." Briefly, in Antar 
I discern 

" — A love exalted high, 
By all the glow of chivalry ;" 

and I lament to see so many intelligent travellers misjudg- 
ing the Arab after a superficial experience of a few debased 
Syrians or Sinaites. The true children of Antar have not 
" ceased to be gentlemen." 

In the days of ignorance, it was the custom for Bedouins, 
when tormented by the tender passion, which seems to 
have attacked them in the form of " possession," for long 
years to sigh and wail and wander, doing the most trucu- 
lent deeds to melt the obdurate fair. When Arabia 
Islamized, the practice changed its element for proselytism. 
The Fourth Caliph is fabled to have travelled far, redress- 
ing the injured, punishing the injurer, preaching to the 
infidel, and especially protecting women — the chief end and 
aim of knighthood. The Caliph El Mutasem heard in the 
assembly of his courtiers that a woman of Sayyid family had 
been taken prisoner by a " Greek barbarian" of Ammoria. 
The man on one occasion struck her, when she cried, 
"Help me, O Mutasem!" and the clown said derisively, 
" Wait till he cometh upon his pied steed !" The chival- 
rous prince arose, sealed up the wine cup which he held in 


his hand, took oath to do his knightly devoir, and on the 
morrow started for Ammoria, with 70,000 men, each mounted 
on a piebald charger. Having taken the place, he entered 
it, exclaiming, " Labbayki, Labbayki !" — Here am I at 
thy call. He struck off the caitiff's head, released the 
lady with his own hands, ordered the cupbearer to bring 
the sealed bowl, and drank from it, exclaiming, "Now, 
indeed, wine is good !" 

It is the existence of this chivalry among the " Children 
of Antar" which makes the society of Bedouins ("damned 
saints," perchance, and " honorable villains,") so delightful 
to the traveller who understands and is understood by them. 
Your guide will protect you with blade and spear, even 
against his kindred, and he expects you to do the same for 
him. You may give a man the lie, but you must lose no 
time in baring your sword. If involved in dispute with 
overwhelming numbers, you address some elder, "Dak- 
hilak ya Shaykh ! " — (I am) thy protected, O Sir, — and he 
will espouse your quarrel, and, indeed, with greater heat 
and energy than if it were his own. But why multiply in- 
stances ? 

The language of love and war and all excitement is 
poetry, and here, again, the Bedouin excels. Travellers 
complain that the wild men cease to sing. This is true if 
" poet " be limited to a few authors whose existence every- 
where depends upon the accidents of patronage or politi- 
cal occurrences. A far stronger evidence of poetic feeling 
is afforded by the phraseology of the Arab, and the highly 
imaginative turn of his commonest expressions. Destitute 
of the poetic taste, as we define it, he certainly is : as in the 
Milesian, wit and fancy, vivacity and passion, are too strong 
for reason and judgment, the reins which guide Apollo's 
car. And although the Bedouins no longer boast a Lebid 
or a Maisunah, yet they are passionately fond of their an- 


cient bards.* A man skilful in reading El Mutanabi and 
the Suspended Poems would be received by them with the 
honors paid by civilization to the travelling millionnaire. f 

I cannot well explain the effect of Arab poetry to one 
who has not visited the Desert.J Apart from the pomp of 
words and the music of the sound, there is a dreaminess of 
idea and a haze thrown over the object, infinitely attractive, 
but indescribable. Description, indeed, would rob the song 
of indistinctness, its essence. To borrow a simile from a 
sister art, the Arab poet sets before the mental eye the 
dim grand outlines of a picture, — which must be filled up by 
the reader, guided only by a few glorious touches, power- 
fully standing out, and the sentiment which the scene is 
intended to express ; — whereas, we Europeans and moderns, 

* I am informed that the Beni Kahtan still improvise, but I never 
heard them. The traveller in Arabia will always be told that some re- 
mote clan still produces mighty bards, and uses in conversation the ter- 
minal vowels of the classic tongue, but he will not believe these asser- 
tions till personally convinced of their truth. 

The Bedouin dialect, however, though debased, is still, as of yore, 
purer than the language of the citizens. During the days when philo- 
logy was a passion in the East, those Stephens and Johnsons of Semitic 
lore, Firuzabadi and El Zamakhshari, wandered from tribe to tribe and 
tent to tent, collecting words and elucidating disputed significations. 
Their grammatical adventures are still remembered, and are favorite 
stories with scholars. 

f I say " skilful in reading," because the Arabs, like the Spaniards, 
hate to hear their language mangled by mispronunciation. When Burck- 
hardt, who spoke badly, began to read verse to the Bedouins, they could 
not refrain from a movement of impatience, and used to snatch the book 
out of his hands. 

\ The civilised poets of the Arab cities throw the charm of the 
Desert over their verse, by images borrowed from its scenery — the. 
dromedary, the mirage, and the well — as naturally as certain of our 
songsters, confessedly haters of the country, babble of distant kine, 
shady groves, spring showers, and purling rills. 


by stippling and minute touches, produce a miniature on a 
large scale so objective as to exhaust rather than to arouse 
reflection. As the poet is a creator, the Arab's is poetry, 
the European's versical description. The language leaves 
a mysterious vagueness between the relation of word to 
word, which materially assists the sentiment, not the sense, 
of the poem. When verbs and nouns have — each one — 
many different significations, only the radical or general 
idea suggests itself. Rich and varied synonyms, illustrating 
the finest shades of meaning, are artfully used ; now scat- 
tered to startle us by distinctness, now to form as it were 
a star about which dimly seen satellites revolve. There is 
in the Semitic dialect a copiousness of rhyme which leaves 
the poet almost unfettered to choose the desired expression. 
Hence it is that a stranger speaking Arabic becomes poet- 
ical as naturally as he would be witty in French and philo- 
sophic in German. Truly spake Mohammed el Damiri, 
" Wisdom hath alighted upon three things — the brain of the 
Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the tongues of the 

The name of " harami " — brigand — is still honorable 
among the Hejazi Bedouins. Slain in raid or foray, a man 
is said to die "ghandur," or a brave. He, on the other 
hand, who is lucky enough, as we should express it, to die 
in his bed, is called "fatis" (carrion), his weeping mother 
will exclaim, "O that my son had perished of a cut throat!" 
and her attendant crones will suggest, with deference, that 
such evil came of the will of Allah. It is told of the La- 
habah, a sub-family of the Auf near Rabigh, that a girl will 
refuse even her cousin unless, in the absence of other op- 
portunities, he plunder some article from the Hajj caravan 
in front of the Pacha's links. Detected twenty years ago, 
the delinquent would have been impaled ; now he escapes 
with a rib-roasting. Fear of the blood-feud, and the cer- / 


tainty of a shut road to future travellers, prevent the Turks 
proceeding to extremes. They conceal their weakness by 
pretending that the Sultan hesitates to wage a war of ex- 
termination with the thieves of the Holy Land. Hence, 
petty pilfering has re-appeared in El-Hejaz. 

The true Bedouin style of plundering, with its nume- 
rous niceties of honor and gentlemanly manners, gives the 
robber a consciousness of moral rectitude. " Strip off that 
coat, O certain person! and that turban," exclaims the 
highwayman, " they are wanted by my lady-cousin." You 
will (of course if necessary) lend ready ear to an order thus 
politely attributed to the wants of the fair sex. If you will 
add a few obliging expressions to the bundle, and offer 
Latro a cup of coffee and a pipe, you will talk half your 
toilette back to your person ; and if you can quote a little 
poetry, you will part the best of friends, leaving perhaps 
only a pair of sandals behind you. But should you hesi- 
tate, Latro, lamenting the painful necessity, touches up 
your back with the heel of his spear. If this hint suffice 
not, he will make things plain by the lance's point, and 
when blood shows, the tiger-part of humanity appears. 

I omit general details about the often described Sar 
(Thar), or Yendetta. The price of blood is 800 dollars 
=200£), or rather that sum imperfectly expressed by live- 
stock. All the blood relations of the slayer assist to make 
up the required amount, rating each animal at three or 
four times its proper value. On such occasions violent 
scenes arise from the conflict of the Arab's two pet pas- 
sions, avarice and revenge. 

The " avenger of blood " longs to cut the foe's throat. 
On the other hand, how let slip an opportunity of enriching 
himself? His covetousness is intense, as are all his pas- 
sions. He has always a project of buying a new drome- 
dary, or of investing capital in some marvellous colt ; the 


consequence is, that he is insatiable. Still he receives 
blood-money with a feeling of shame ; and if it be offered 
to an old woman — the most revengeful variety of our 
species, be it remarked, — she will dash it to the ground, 
and clutch her knife, and fiercely swear by Allah that 
she will not eat her son's blood. 

The Bedouin considers himself a man only when mounted 
on horseback, lance in hand, bound for a foray or a fray, 
carolling some such gaiety as — 

" A steede ! a steede of matchlesse speede ! 
A sword of metal keene ! 
All else to noble minds is drosse, 
All else on earth is meane." 

Even in his sports he affects those that imitate war. 
Preserving the instinctive qualities which lie dormant in 
civilisation, he is an admirable "Venator." The children, 
men in miniature, begin a rude system of gymnastics when 
they can walk. " My young ones play upon the backs of 
camels," was the reply made to me by a Jehayni Bedouin 
when offered some Egyptian plaything. The men pass 
their time principally in hawking, shooting, and riding. 
The " Sakr," I am told, is the only falcon in general use ; 
they train it to pursue the gazelle, which greyhounds pull 
down when fatigued. I have heard much of their excel- 
lent marksmanship, but saw only moderate practice with 
a long matchlock rested and fired at standing objects. 
Double-barrelled guns are rare amongst them.* Their 
principal weapons are matchlocks and firelocks, pistols, 
javelins, spears, swords, and the dagger called " Jambiyah ;" 
the sling and the bow have long been given up. The guns 
come from Egypt, Syria, and Turkey ; for the Bedouin 

* Here called " bandukiyah bi ruhayn," or the two-mouthed gun. 


cannot make, although he can repair, this arm. He parti- 
cularly values a good old barrel seven spans long, and 
would rather keep it than his coat ; consequently, a family 
often boasts of four or five guns, which descend from ge- 
neration to generation. The price of a gun varies from 
two to sixty dollars. The Bedouins collect nitre in the 
country, make excellent charcoal, and import sulphur from 
Egypt and India ; their powder, however, is coarse and 
weak. For hares and birds they cut up into slugs a bar of 
lead hammered out to a convenient size, and they cast bul- 
lets in moulds. They are fond of ball-practice, firing, as 
every sensible man does, at short distances, and striving at 
extreme precision. They are fond of backing themselves 
with wagers, and will shoot for a sheep, the loser inviting 
his friends to a feast. On festivals they boil a sheep's 
head, and use it as mark and prize. Those who affect ex- 
cellence are said to fire at a bullet hanging by a thread ; 
curious, however, to relate, the Bedouins of El Hejaz have 
but just learned the art, general in Persia and Barbary, of 
shooting from horseback at speed. 

Pistols have been lately introduced into the Hejaz, and 
are not common amongst the Bedouins. The citizens are 
fond of this weapon, as it is derived from Constantinople. 

The spears, called Kanat, or reeds, are made of male 
bamboos imported from India. They are about twelve 
feet long, iron shod, with a long tapering point, beneath 
which are one or two tufts of black ostrich feathers. Be- 
sides the Mirzak, or javelin, they have a spear called 
" Shalfah," a bamboo or palmstick garnished with a head 
about the breadth of a man's hand. 

No good swords are fabricated in El Hejaz. The 
Khelawiyah and other Desert clans have made some poor 
attempts at blades. They are brought from Persia, India, 
and Egypt ; but I never saw anything of value. 


The Darakah, or shield, also comes from India. It is 
the common Cutch article, supposed to be made of rhinoce- 
ros hide, and displaying as much brass knob and gold wash 
as possible. The Bedouins still use in the remoter parts 
Diraa, or coats of mail, worn by horsemen over buff jackets. 

The dagger is made in Yemen and other places ; it has 
a vast variety of shapes, each of which, as usual, has its 
proper name. Generally they are but little curved (whereas 
the gadaymi of Yemen and Hazramaut is almost a semicir- 
cle), with tapering blade, wooden handle, and scabbard of 
the same material overlaid with brass. At the point of the 
scabbard is a round knob, and the weapon is so long, that 
a man when walking cannot swing his right arm. In nar- 
row places he must enter sideways. But it is the mode 
always to appear in dagger, and the weapon, like the 
French soldier's coupe-choux, is really useful for such blood- 
less purposes as cutting wood and gathering grass. In 
price they vary from one to thirty dollars. 

The Hejazi Bedouins have no game of chance, and dare 
not, I am told, ferment the juice of the Daum palm, as 
proximity to Aden has taught the wild men of Yemen. 
Their music is in a rude state. The principal instrument 
is the tabl or kettle-drum, which is of two kinds ; one, the 
smaller, used at festivals ; the other a large copper u tom- 
tom," for martial purposes, covered with leather, and 
played upon, pulpit-like, with fist and not with*stick. Be- 
sides which, they have the one-stringed Rubabah, or guitar, 
that "monotonous, but charming instrument of the Desert." 
In another place I have described their dancing, which is 
an ignoble spectacle. 

The Bedouins of El Hejaz have all the knowledge 
necessary for procuring and protecting the riches of savage 
life. They are perfect in the breeding, the training, and 
the selling of cattle. They know sufficient of astronomy to 



guide themselves by night, and are acquainted with the 
names of the principal stars. Their local memory is wonder- 
ful. Such is their instinct in the art of Asar, or tracking, 
that it is popularly said of the Zubayd clan, which lives 
between Meccah and El Medinah, a man will lose a she 
camel and know her four-year-old colt by its foot. Always 
engaged in rough exercises and perilous journeys, they have 
learned a kind of farriery and a simple system of surgery. 
In cases of fracture they bind on splints with cloth bands, 
and the patient drinks camel's milk and clarified butter till 
he is cured. Cut-wounds are washed carefully, sprinkled 
with meal gunpowder, and sewn up. They dress gunshot 
wounds with raw camels' flesh, and rely entirely upon nature 
and diet. When bitten by snakes or stung by scorpious 
they scarify the wound with a razor, recite a charm, and 
apply to it a dressing of garlic. The wealthy have " fiss," 
or ring-stones, brought from India, and used with a formula 
of prayer to extract venom. Some few possess the "Teri- 
yak" (Theriack) of El Irak — the great counter-poison, 
internal as well as external, of the East. The poorer 
classes all wear the " hibas " of Yemen ; two yarns of black 
sheep's wool tied round the leg, under the knee and above 
the ankle. When bitten, the sufferer tightens these cords 
above the injured part, which he immediately scarifies ; 
thus they act as tourniquets. The Bedouin's knowledge 
of medicine is unusually limited in this part of Arabia, 
where even simples are not required by a people who rise 
with dawn, eat little, always breathe desert air, and " at 
night make the camels their curfew." The great tonic is 
clarified butter, and the " kay," or actual cautery, is used 
even for rheumatism. This counter-irritant, together with 
a curious and artful phlebotomy, blood being taken, as by 
the Italians, from the toes, the fingers, and other parts of 
the body, are the Arab panaceas. Mules' teeth, roasted 


and imperfectly pounded, cure cataract. Teeth are extracted 
by the farrier's pincers, and the worm which throughout 
the East is supposed to produce tooth-ache, falls by fumiga- 
tion. And, finally, after great fatigue, or when suffering 
from cold, the body is copiously greased with clarified but- 
ter and exposed to a blazing fire. 

Mohammed and his followers conquered only the more 
civilised Bedouins ; and there is even to this day little or no 
religion amongst the wild people, except amongst those on 
the coast or in the vicinity of cities. The faith of the Be- 
douin comes from El Islam, whose hold is weak. But his 
customs and institutions, the growth of his climate, his 
nature, and his wants, are still those of his ancestors, che- 
rished ere Meccah had sent forth a Prophet, and likely to 
survive the day when every vestige of the Kaabah shall have 
disappeared. Of this nature are the Hejazi's pagan oaths, 
their heathenish names (few being Moslem except "Mo- 
hammed"), their ordeal of licking red-hot iron, their Salkh, 
or scarification, proof of manliness, their blood revenge, 
their eating carrion (i. e. the body of an animal killed with- 
out the usual formula), and their lending wives to strangers. 
All these I hold to be remnants of some old creed ; nor 
should I despair of finding among the Bedouins bordering 
upon the Great Desert some lingering system of idolatry. 

The Bedouins of El Hejaz call themselves Shafei ; but 
what is put into the mouths of their brethren in the West 
applies equally well here. " We pray not, because we must 
drink the water of ablution ; we give no alms, because we 
ask them; we fast not the Ramazan month, because we 
starve throughout the year; and we do no pilgrimage, 
because the world is the House of Allah." Their blunders 
in religious matters supply the citizens with many droll sto- 
ries. And it is to be observed that they do not, like the 
Greek pirates or the Italian bandits, preserve a religious 


element in their plunderings : they make no vows and care- 
fully avoid offerings. 

The ceremonies of Bedouin life are few and simple — 
circumcisions, marriages, and funerals. 

Women being a marketable commodity in barbarism as 
in civilisation, youths in El Hejaz are not married till the 
father can afford to pay for a bride. There is little pomp 
or ceremony save firing of guns, dancing, singing, and eating 
mutton. The "settlement" is usually about thirty sound 
Spanish dollars, half paid down, and the other half owed by 
the bridegroom to the fathers, the brothers, or the kindred 
of his spouse. Some tribes will take animals in lieu of ready 
money. A man of wrath not contented with his bride, puts 
her away at once. If peaceably inclined, by a short delay 
he avoids scandal. Divorces are very frequent among Be- 
douins, and if the settlement money be duly paid, no evil 
comes of them. 

The funerals of the wild men resemble those of the citi- 
zens, only they are more simple ; the dead are buried where 
they die. The corpse, after being washed, is shrouded in 
any rags procurable, and, women and hired weepers not 
being permitted to attend, is carried to the grave by men 
only. A hole is dug, according to Moslem custom; dry 
wood, which everywhere abounds, is disposed to cover the 
corpse, and an oval of stones surrounding a mound of earth 
keeps out jackals and denotes the spot. These Bedouins 
have not, like the wild Sindhis and Belochis, favorite ceme- 
teries, to which they transport their dead from afar. 

The traveller will find no difficulty in living amongst the 
Hejazi Bedouins. " Trust to their honor and you are safe," 
as was said of the Crow Indians, " to their honesty, and 
they will steal the hair off your head." Only the wanderer 
must adopt the wild man's motto, " omnia mea mecum 
porto^ he must have good nerves, be capable of fatigue and 


hardship, and possess some knowledge of drags, shoot and 
ride well, speak Arabic and Turkish, know by reading the 
customs, and avoid offending against local prejudices, by- 
causing himself, for instance, to be called " Taggaa." Cau- 
tion must be exercised in choosing a companion who has not 
too many blood feuds. There is no objection to carrying a 
copper watch and a pocket compass, and a Koran could be 
fitted with secret pockets for notes and pencil. Strangers 
should especially avoid handsome weapons : these tempt the 
Bedouins' cupidity more than gold. The other extreme, 
defencelessness, is equally objectionable. It is needless to 
say that the traveller must never be seen writing anything 
but charms, and on no account sketch in public. He should 
be careful in questioning, and rather lead up to information 
than ask directly. It offends some Bedouins, besides denot- 
ing ignorance and curiosity, to be asked their names or 
those of their clans : a man may be living incognito, and the 
tribes distinguish themselves when they desire to do so by 
dress, personal appearance, voice, dialect, and accentuation, 
points of difference plain to the initiated. A few dollars 
suffice for the road, and if you would be " respectable," a 
taste which I dare not deprecate, some such presents as 
razors and Tarbushes are required for the chiefs. 

The government of the Arabs may be called almost an 
autonomy. The tribes never obey their shaykhs, unless for 
personal considerations, and, as in a civilised army, there 
generally is some sharp-witted and brazen-faced individual 
whose voice is louder than the general's. In their leonine 
society the sword is the great administrator of law. 

The Arab's dress marks his simplicity ; it gives him a 
nationality, as, according to John Evelyn, " prodigious 
breeches " did to the Swiss. It is remarkably picturesque, 
and with sorrow we see it now confined to the wildest 
Bedouins and a few Sherifs. The necessary dress of a man is 


his Saub (Tobe), a blue calico shirt, reaching from neck to 
ankles, tight or loose-sleeved, opening at the chest in front, 
and rather narrow below ; so that the Avearer, when running, 
must either hold it up or tuck it into his belt. The latter 
article, called Hakw, is a plaited leathern thong, twisted 
round the waist very tightly, so as to support the back. 
The trowsers and the " Futah," or loin cloth of cities, are 
looked upon as signs of effeminacy. In cold weather the 
chiefs wear over the shirt an Aba, or cloak. These garments 
are made in Nejd and the eastern districts ; they are of four 
colors, white, black, red, and brown-striped. The best are 
of camel's-hair, and may cost fifteen dollars ; the worst, of 
sheep's wool, are worth only three ; both are cheap, as they 
last for years. The Mahramah (head-cloth) comes from 
Syria ; which, with Nejd, supplies also the Kufiyah, or head- 
kerchief. The " Ukal," fillets bound over the kerchief, are 
of many kinds ; the Bisher tribe near Meccah make a kind 
of crown like the gloria round a saint's head, with bits of 
wood, in which are set pieces of mother-o'-pearl. Sandals, 
too, are of every description, from the simple sole of leather 
tied on with thongs, to the handsome and elaborate chaus- 
sure of Meccah ; the price varies from a piastre to a dollar, 
and the very poor walk bare-footed. A leathern bandoleer, 
called Majdal, passed over the left shoulder, and reaching 
to the right hip, supports a line of brass cylinders for cartrid- 
ges. The other cross-belt (El Masdar), made of leather, 
ornamented with brass rings, hangs down at the left side, 
and carries a Kharizah, or hide-case for bullets. And finally, 
the Hizam, or waist-belt, holds the dagger and extra car- 
tridge cases. A Bedouin never appears in public unarmed. 
The women wear, like their masters, dark blue cotton 
Tobes, but larger and looser. When abroad they cover the 
head with a yashmak of black stuff, or poppy-colored Burka 
of the Egyptian shape. They wear no pantaloons, and 


rarely slippers or sandals. The hair is twisted into " Majdul," 
little pig-tails, and copiously anointed with clarified butter. 
The rich perfume the skin with rose and cinnamon-scented 
oils, and wear in their hair El Shayh, sweetest herb of the 
desert ; their ornaments are bracelets, collars, ear and nose- 
rings of gold, silver, or silver-gilt. The poorer classes 
wear strings of silver coins hung round the neck. 

The true Bedouin is an abstemious man, capable of liv- 
ing for six months on ten ounces of food per diem ; the 
milk of a single camel, and a handful of dates dry, or fried 
in clarified butter, suffice for his wants. He despises the 
obese and all who require regular and plentiful meals, 
sleeps on a mat, and knows neither luxury nor comfoi-t, 
freezing during one quarter and frying three quarters 
of the year. But though he can endure hunger like all 
savages, he will gorge when an opportunity offers. I never 
saw the man who could refrain from water upon the line of 
march. They are still " acridophagi," and even the citizens 
far prefer a dish of locusts to the " fasikh," which act as 
anchovies, sardines, and herrings in Egypt. They light a 
fire at night, and as the insects fall dead they quote this 
couplet to justify their being eaten — 

" We are allowed two carrions and two bloods, 
The fish and locusts, the liver and the spleen." 

Where they have no crops to lose, the people are thank- 
ful for a fall of locusts. In El Hejaz the flights are 
uncertain ; during the last five years El Medinah has seen 
but few. They are prepared for eating by boiling in salt 
water and drying four or five days in the sun : a " wet " 
locust to an Arab is as a snail to a Briton. The head is 
plucked off, the stomach drawn, the wings and the prickly 
part of the legs are plucked, and the insect is ready for the 


table. Locusts are never eaten with sweet things, which 
would be nauseous ; the dish is always " hot " with salt and 
pepper, or onions fried in clarified butter, when it tastes 
nearly as well as a plate of stale shrimps. 

The favorite food on journeys is meat cut into strips 
and sun-dried. This, with a bag of milk-balls and a little 
coffee, must suffice for journey or campaign. The Bedouins 
know neither fermented nor distilled liquors, although fie 
upon thee, drunkard ! is a popular phrase, preserving the 
memory of a better state of things. Some clans, though 
not all, smoke tobacco. It is generally the growth of the 
country called Hejazi or Kazimiyah ; a green weed, very 
strong, with a foul smell, and costing about one piastre per 

The tribes of El Hejaz are tediously numerous. The 
Beni Harb, however, is now the ruling clan in the Holy 



We have now left the territory of El Medinah. El Su- 
wayrkiyah, which belongs to the Sherif of Meccah, is by 
dead reckoning about ninety-nine miles along the road 
from the Prophet's burial-place. The town, consisting of 
about 100 houses, is built at the base and on the sides of a 
basaltic mass, which rises abruptly from the hard clayey 
plain. There is little to describe in the narrow streets and 
the mud houses, which are essentially Arab. The fields 
around are divided into little square plots by earthen ridges 
and stone walls ; some of the palms are fine grown trees, 
and the wells appeared numerous. The water is near the 
surface and plentiful, but it has a brackish taste, highly dis- 
agreeable after a few days' use, and the effects are the re- 
verse of chalybeate. 

The morning after our arrival at El Suwayrkiyah wit- 
nessed a commotion in our little party : hitherto they had 
kept together in fear of the road. Among the number was 
one Ali bin Ya Sin, a perfect " old man of the sea." By 
profession he was a " Zem Zemi," or dispenser of water 



from the Holy Well,* and he had a handsome " palazzo " 
at the foot of Abu Kubays in Meccah, which he periodically 
converted into a boarding house. Though past sixty, very 
decrepit, bent by age, white-bearded, and toothless, he still 
acted cicerone to pilgrims, and for that purpose travelled 
once every year to El Medinah. These trips had given 
him the cunning of a veteran voyager. He lived well and 
cheaply; his home-made shugduf, the model of comfort, 
was garnished with soft cushions and pillars, whilst from 
the pockets protruded select bottles of pickled limes and 
similar luxuries ; he had his travelling shishah,f and at the 
halting-place, disdaining the crowded, reeking tent, he had 
a contrivance for converting his vehicle into a habitation. 
He was a type of the Arab old man. He mumbled all day 
and three-quarters of the night, for he had des insornnies. 
His nerves were so fine, that if any one mounted his shug- 
duf, the unfortunate was condemned to lie like a statue. 
Fidgety and priggishly neat, nothing annoyed him so 
much as a moment's delay or an article out of place, a rag 
removed from his water-gugglet, or a cooking pot imper- 
fectly free from soot; and I judged his avarice by observing 
that he made a point of picking up and eating the grains 
scattered from our pomegranates, exclaiming that the 
heavenly seed (located there by Arab superstition) might be 
one of those so wantonly wasted. 

* There are certain officers called Zem Zemi, who distribute the 
holy water. In the case of a respectable pilgrim they have a large jar 
marked with his names and titles, and sent every morning to his lodg- 
ings. If he be generous, one or more will be placed in the Haram, that 
men may drink in his honor. The Zem Zemi expects a present varying 
from five to eleven dollars. 

t The shishah, smoked on the camel, is a tin canister divided into 
two compartments, the lower half for the water, the upper one for the 
tobacco. The cover is pierced with holes to feed the fire, and a short 
hooka-snake projects from one side. 


Ali bin Ya Sin, returning to his native city, had not 
been happy in his choice of a companion this time. The 
other occupant of the handsome shugduf was an ignoble- 
faced Egyptian from El Medinah. This ill-suited pair clave 
together for awhile, but at El Suwayrkiyah some dispute 
about a copper coin made them permanent foes. With 
threats and abuse such as none but an Egyptian could 
tamely hear, Ali kicked his quondam friend out of the 
vehicle. But terrified, after reflection, by the possibility 
that the man now his enemy might combine with two or 
three Syrians of our party to do him a harm, and frightened 
by a few black looks, the senior determined to fortify him- 
self by a friend. Connected with the boy Mohammed's 
family, he easily obtained an introduction to me ; he kissed 
my hand with great servility, declared that his servant had 
behaved disgracefully, and begged my protection, together 
with the occasional attendance of my " slave." 

This was readily granted in pity for the old man, who 
became immensely grateful. He offered at once to take 
Shaykh Nur into his shugduf. The Indian boy had already 
reduced to ruins the frail structure of his shibriyah, by 
lying upon it lengthways, whereas prudent travellers sit in 
it cross-legged and facing the camel. Moreover, he had 
been laughed to scorn by the Bedouins, who, seeing him 
pull up his dromedary to mount and dismount, had 
questioned his sex, and determined him to be a woman 
of the "Miyan."* I could not rebuke them; the poor 
fellow's timidity was a ridiculous contrast to the Bedouin's 
style of mounting ; a pull at the camel's head, the left foot 
placed on the neck, an agile spring, and a scramble into the 
saddle. Shaykh Nur, elated by the sight of old Ali's 

* The Hindostani word for " sir." Bedouins address it slightingly 
to Indians. 


luxuries, promised himself some joyous hours ; but next 
morning he owned with a sigh that he bad purchased 
splendor at the extravagant price of happiness — the 
senior's tongue never rested throughout the livelong 

During one half-halt at El Sawayrkiyah we determined 
to have a small feast ; we bought some fresh dates, and 
paid a dollar and a half for a sheep. Hungry travellers 
consider "liver and fry" a dish to set before a shaykh. 
On this occasion, however, our enjoyment was marred by 
the water; even Soyer's dinners would scarcely charm 
if washed down with cups of a certain mineral-spring 
found at Epsom. 

We started at 10 a. m. in a south-easterly direction, 
and travelled over a flat thinly dotted with desert vegeta- 
tion. At 1 p. m. we passed a basaltic ridge, and then, 
entering a long depressed line of country, a kind of valley, 
paced down it five tedious hours. The simoom as usual 
was blowing hard, and it seemed to affect the traveller's 
temper. In one place I saw a Turk who could not speak a 
word of Arabic, violently disputing with an Arab who 
could not speak a word of Turkish. The pilgrim insisted 
upon adding to the camel's load a few dry sticks, such as 
are picked up for cooking. The camel man as perseveringly 
threw off the extra burden. They screamed with rage, 
hustled each other, and at last the Turk dealt the Arab 
a heavy blow. I afterwards heard that the pilgrim was 
mortally wounded that night, his stomach being ripped open 
with a dagger. On inquiring what had become of him, I 
was assured that he had been comfortably wrapped up in 
his shroud and placed in a half-dug grave. This is the 
general practice in the case of the poor and solitary, whom 
illness or accident incapacitates from proceeding. It is 
impossible to contemplate such a fate without horror : the 


torturing thirst of a wound,* the burning sun heating the 
brain to madness, and — worst of all, for they do not wait 
till death — the attacks of the jackal, the vulture, and the 
raven of the wild. 

At 8 p.m. the camels began to stumble over the dwarf 
dykes of the wheat and barley fields, and presently we 
arrived at our halting- place, a large village called El Su- 
fayna. The plain was already dotted with tents and lights. 
We found the Baghdad caravan, whose route here falls 
into the Darb el Sharki. It consists of a few Persians and 
Kurds, and collects the people of north-eastern Arabia, 
Wahhabis, and others. They are escorted by the Agayl 
tribe and the fierce mountaineers of Jebel Shamar. Scarcely 
was our tent pitched when the distant pattering of mus- 
ketry and an ominous tapping of the kettle-drum sent all 
my companions in different directions to inquire what was 
the cause of quarrel. The Baghdad Cafila, though not 
more than 2000 in number, men, women, and cliildren, had 
been proving to the Damascus caravan, that, being per- 
fectly ready to fight, they were not going to yield any 
point of precedence. From that time the two bodies en- 
camped in different places. I never saw a more pugnacious 
assembly : a look sufficed for a quarrel. Once a Wahhabi 
stood in front of us, and by pointing with his finger and 
other insulting gestures, showed his hatred to the chi- 
bouque, in which I was peaceably indulging. It was im- 
possible to refrain from chastising his insolence by a polite 
and smiling offer of the offending pipe. This made him 
draw his dagger without a thought ; but it was sheathed 
again, for we all cocked our pistols, and these gentry prefer 
steel to lead. Though it was night when we encamped, 

* "When Indians would say, " he was killed npon the spot," they use 
the picturesque phrase, " he asked not for water." 


Shaykh Masud set out to water his moaning camels : they 
had not quenched their thirst for three days. He returned 
in a depressed state, having been bled by the soldiery at 
the well to the extent of forty piastres, or about eight 

After supper we spread our rugs and prepared to rest. 
And here I first remarked the coolness of the nights, prov- 
ing at this season of the year a considerable altitude above 
the sea. As a general rule the atmosphere stagnated be- 
tween sunrise and 10 a.m., when a light wind rose. Dur- 
ing the forenoon the breeze strengthened, and it gradually 
diminished through the afternoon. Often about sunset 
there was a gale accompanied by dry storms of dust. At 
El Sufayna, though there was no night-breeze and little 
dew, a blanket was necessary, and the hours of darkness 
were invigorating enough to mitigate the effect of the sand 
and simoom-ridden day. Before sleeping I was introduced 
to a namesake, one Shaykh Abdullah of Meccah. Having 
committed his shugduf to his son, a lad of fourteen, he had 
ridden forward on a dromedary, and had suddenly fallen 
ill. His objects in meeting me were to ask for some medi- 
cine, and a temporary seat in my shugduf; the latter I 
offered with pleasure, as the boy Mohammed was longing 
to mount a camel. The shaykh's illness was nothing but 
Aveakness brought on by the hardships of the journey : he 
attributed it to the hot wind, and the weight of a bag of 
dollars, which he had attached to his waist-belt. He was a 
man about forty, long, thin, pale, and of a purely nervous 
temperament : and a few questions elicited the fact, that 
he had lately and suddenly given up his daily opium pill. 
I prepared one for him, placed him in my litter, and per- 
suaded him to stow away his burden in some place where 
it would be less troublesome. He was my companion for 
two marches, at the end of which he found his own shug- 


duf, and I never met amongst the Arab citizens a better 
bred or better informed man. At Constantinople he had 
learned a little French, Italian, and Greek ; and from the 
properties of a shrub to the varieties of honey,* he was full 
of " useful knowledge," and open as a dictionary. We 
parted near Meccah, where I met him only once, and then 
accidentally, in the Valley of Muna. 

At half-past 5 a. m., on the 5th of September, we arose 
refreshed by the cool, comfortable night, and loaded the 

We travelled towards the south-east, and entered a 
country destitute of the low ranges of hill, which from El 
Medinah southwards had bounded the horizon. After two 
miles' march, our camels climbed up a precipitous ridge, 
and then descended into a broad gravel plain. From 10 to 
11a. m. our course was southerly, over a high table-land, 
and we afterwards traversed for five hours and a half a 
plain which bore signs of standing water. This day's 
inarch was peculiarly Arabian. It was a desert peopled only 
with echoes, — a place of death for what little there is to die 
in it, — a wilderness, where, to use my companion's phrase, 
there is nothing but He. f Nature, scalped, flayed, disco- 
vered her anatomy to the gazer's eye. The horizon was a 
sea of mii-age ; gigantic sand columns whirled over the plain ; 
and on both sides of our road were huge piles of bare rock, 
standing detached upon the surface of sand and clay. Here 
they appeared in oval lumps, heaped up with a semblance 

* The Arabs are curious in and fond of honey : Meccah alone affords 
eight or nine different varieties. The best, and in Arab parlance the 
" coldest," is the green kind, produced by bees that feed upon a thorny 
plant called "sihhah." The white and red honeys rank next. The 
worst is the Asal Asmar (brown honey), which sells for something un- 
der a piastre per pound. 

f "La Siwa Hu," i. e. where there is none but Allah. 


of symmetry ; there a single boulder stood, with its narrow 
foundation based upon a pedestal of low, dome-shaped rock. 
All are of a pink coarse-grained granite, which flakes off in 
large crusts under the influence of the atmosphere. I re- 
marked one block which could not measure less than thirty 
feet in height. Through these scenes we travelled till about 
half-past 4 p. m., when the guns suddenly roared a halt. 
There was not a trace of human habitation around us : a few 
parched shrubs and the granite heaps were the only objects 
diversifying the hard clayey plain. Shaykh Masud correct- 
ly guessed the cause of our detention at the inhospitable 
" halting place of the Mutayr" (Bedouins). " Cook your 
bread and boil your coffee," said the old man, " the camels 
will rest for awhile and the gun sound at nightfall." 

At half-past ten that evening we heard the signal for 
departure, and as the moon was still young we prepared 
for a hard night's work. We took a south-westerly course 
through what is called a Waar — rough ground covered 
with thicket. Darkness fell upon us like a pall. The 
camels tripped and stumbled, tossing their litters like cock- 
boats in a short sea ; at times the shugdufs were well nigh 
torn off their backs. When we came to a ridge worse than 
usual, old Masud would seize my camel's halter, and, ac- 
companied by his son and nephew bearing lights, encou- 
rage the animals with gesture and voice. It was a strange, 
wild scene. The black basaltic field was dotted with the 
huge and doubtful forms of spongy-footed camels with 
silent tread, looming like phantoms in the midnight air; 
the hot wind moaned, and whirled from the torches sheets 
of flame and fiery smoke, whilst ever and anon a swift tra- 
velling Takhtrawan, drawn by mules, and surrounded by 
runners bearing gigantic mashals,* threw a passing glow of 

* This article, an iron cylinder with bands, mounted on a long pole, 
corresponds with the European cresset of the fifteenth century. 


red light upon the dark road and the dusky multitude. 
On this occasion the rule was " every man for himself." 
Each pressed forward into the best path, thinking only of 
preceding others. The Syrians, amongst whom our little 
party had become entangled, proved most unpleasant com- 
panions ; they often stopped the way, insisting upon their 
right to precedence. On one occasion a horseman had the 
audacity to untie the halter of my dromedary, and thus to 
cast us adrift, as it were to make room for some secluded 
friend. I seized my sword ; but Shaykh Abdullah stayed 
my hand, and addressed the intruder in terms sufficiently 
violent to make him slink away. Nor was this the only 
occasion on which my companion was successful with the 
Syrians. He would begin with a mild " Move a little, O 
my father ! " followed, if fruitless, by " Out of the way, O 
father of Syria !*" and if still ineffectual, concluding with a 
" Begone, O he ! " This ranged between civility and stern- 
ness. If without effect, it was followed by revilings to the 
"Abusers of the Salt," the "Yezid," the "offspring of 
Shimr." Another remark which I made about my compa- 
nion's conduct well illustrates the difference between the 
Eastern and Western man. When traversing a dangerous 
place, Shaykh Abdullah the European attended to his camel 
with loud cries of " Hai ! Hai ! " f and an occasional switch- 
ing. Shaykh Abdullah the Asiatic commended himself to 
Allah by repeated ejaculations of " Ya Satir ! Ya Sattar ! " 
The morning of Wednesday (Sept. 6th) broke as we en- 
tered a wide plain. In many places were signs of water ; 
lines of basalt here and there seamed the surface, and wide 
sheets of the tufaceous gypsum called by the Arabs " sab- 

* " Abu Sham," a familiar address in El Hejaz to Syrians. 

f There is a regular language to camels. " Ikh ! ikh !" makes them 
kneel ; " Yakh ! Yakh I" urges them on ; " Hai ! Hai!" induces caution, 
and so on. 


khah " shone like mirrors set in russet frame-work of the flat. 
This substance is found in cakes, often a foot long by an 
inch in depth, curled by the sun's rays and overlying clay 
into which water had sunk. After our harassing night, day 
came on with a sad feeling of oppression, greatly increased 
by the unnatural glare. 

At 10 a. m. we pitched the tent in the first convenient 
spot, and lost no time in stretching our cramped limbs upon 
the bosom of mother Earth. 

In our anxiety to rest we had strayed from the Damas : 
cus caravan into the mountaineers of Shamar. Our Shaykh 
Masud manifestly did not like the company ; for shortly 
after 3 p.m. he insisted upon our striking the tent and 
rejoining the Hajj, which lay encamped about two miles 
distant in the western part of the basin. We loaded, 
therefore, and half an hour before sunset found ourselves 
in more congenial society. To my great disappointment a 
stir was observable in the caravan. I at once understood 
that another night-march was in store for us. 

At 6 p.m. we again mounted and turned towards the 
eastern plain. A heavy shower was falling upon the western 
hills, whence came damp and dangerous blasts. Between 
9 p.m. and the dawn of the next day we had a repetition of 
the last night's scenes, over a road so rugged and danger- 
ous, that I wondered how men could prefer to travel in the 
darkness. But the camels of Damascus were now worn out 
with fatigue ; they could not endure the sun, and our time 
was too precious for a halt. My night was spent perched 
upon the front bar of my shugduf, encouraging the drome- 
dary, and that we had not one fall excited my extreme 
astonishment. At 5 a.m. we entered a wide plain thickly 
clothed with the usual thorny trees, in whose strong grasp 
many a shugduf lost its covering, and not a few were 
dragged with their screaming inmates to the ground. 


About five hours afterwards we erossed a high ridge, and 
saw below us the camp of the caravan not more than two 
miles distant. 

At 11 a.m. we had reached our station. It is called El 
Birkat (the Tank), from a large and now ruinous cistern 
built of hewn stone by the Caliph Harun. The land 
belongs to the Utaybah Bedouins, the bravest and most 
ferocious clan in El Hejaz; and the citizens denote their 
dread of these banditti by asserting, that to increase their 
courage they drink their enemy's blood.* My companions 
shook their heads when questioned upon the subject, and 
prayed that we might not become too well acquainted with 
them — an ill-omened speech. 

As we were now near the Holy City, all the Meccans 
were busy canvassing for lodgers and offering their services 
to pilgrims. Quarrels, too, were of hourly occurrence. In 
our party was an Arnaut, a white-bearded old man, so 
decrepit that he could scarcely stand, and yet so violent 
that no one could manage him but his African slave, a 
brazen-faced little wretch about fourteen years of age. 
"Words were bandied between this angry senior and Shaykh 
Masud, when the latter insinuated, sarcastically, that if the 
former had teeth he would be more intelligible. The 
Arnaut in his rage seized a pole, raised it, and delivered a 
blow which missed the camel man, but brought the striker 
headlong to the ground. Masud exclaimed, with shrieks 
of rage, " Have we come to this, that every old dastard 
Turk smites us ?" Our party had the greatest trouble to 
quiet the quarrellers. The Arab listened to us when we 
threatened him with the Pacha. But the Arnaut, whose 

* Some believe this literally, others consider it a phrase expressive 
of blood-thirstiness. It is the only suspicion of cannibalism, if I may 
use the word, now attaching to El Hejaz. 


rage was " like red-hot steel," would hear nothing but our 
repeated declarations, that unless he behaved more like a pil- 
grim, we should be compelled to leave him and his slave 

On the 7th September, at 4 p.m., we left El Birkat, and 
travelled eastwards over rolling ground thickly wooded. 
About 2 a.m. we began ascending hills in a south-westerly- 
direction, and presently fell into the bed of a large rock- 
girt fiumara, which runs from east to west. The sands 
were overgrown with saline and salsolaceous plants. At 6 
a.m. we left the fiumara, and, turning to the west, arrived 
about an hour afterwards at the station. El Zaribah, 
" the valley," is an undulating plain amongst high granite 
hills. In many parts it was faintly green; water was 
close to the surface, and rain stood upon the ground. 
During the night we had travelled about twenty-three 

Having pitched the tent, and eaten and slept, we pre- 
pared to perform the ceremony of El Ihram (assuming the 
pilgrim-garb), as El Zaribah is the mikat, or the appointed 
place.* Between the noonday and the afternoon prayers 
a barber attended to shave our heads, cut our nails, and 
trim our mustachios. Then, having bathed and perfum- 
ed ourselves — the latter is a questionable point — we don- 
ned the attire, which is nothing but two new cotton 
cloths, each six feet long by three and a half broad, 
white, with narrow red stripes and fringes ; in fact, the 
costume called " El Eddeh" in the baths at Cairo.f Our 

* " El Ihram" literally meaning " prohibition" or " making unlaw- 
ful," equivalent to our " mortification," is applied to the ceremony of 
the toilette, and also to the dress itself. 

f These sheets are not positively necessary ; any clean cotton cloth 
not sewn in any part will serve equally well. Servants and attendants 
expect the master to present them with an " ihram." 


heads were bare, and nothing was allowed upon the 

After the toilet we were placed with our faces in the 
direction of Meccah, and ordered to say aloud, " I vow this 
ihram of hajj (the pilgrimage) and the umrah (the little 
pilgrimage) to Allah Almighty !" Having thus performed 
a two-prostration prayer, we repeated, without rising from 
the sitting position, these words, " O Allah ! verily I pur- 
pose the hajj and the umrah, then enable me to accom- 
plish the two, and accept them both of me, and make 
both blessed to me!" When these ceremonies had been 
duly performed, our friend Shaykh Abdullah, who acted 
as director of our consciences, bade us be good pil- 
grims, avoiding quarrels, bad language, immorality, and 
light conversation. We must so reverence life that we 
should avoid killing game, causing an animal to fly, and 
even pointing it out for destruction ; f nor should we 
scratch ourselves, save with the open palm, lest vermin be 
destroyed, or a hair uprooted by the nail. We were to 
respect the sanctuary by sparing the trees, and not to 
pluck a single blade of grass. As regards personal con- 
siderations, we were to abstain from all oils, perfumes, and 
unguents ; from washing the head w T ith mallow or lote 
leaves ; from dyeing, shaving, cutting, or vellicating a sin- 
gle pile or hair ; and though we might take advantage of 
shade, and even form it with upraised hands, we must 
by no means cover our sconces. For each infraction of 

* Sandals are made at Meccah expressly for the pilgrimage : the 
poorer classes cut off the upper leathers of an old pair of shoes. 

f The object of these ordinances is clearly to inculcate the strictest 
observance of the " truce of God." Pilgrims, however, are allowed to 
slay, if necessary, " the five noxious," viz., a crow, a kite, a scorpion, a 
rat, and a biting dog. 


these ordinances we must sacrifice a sheep ; * and it is 
commonly said by Moslems, that none but the Prophet 
could be perfect in the intricacies of pilgrimage. 

The wife and daughters of a Turkish pilgrim of our 
party assumed the ihram at the same time as ourselves. 
They appeared dressed in white garments ; and they had 
exchanged the lisam, that coquettish fold of muslin which 
veils without concealing the lower part of the face, for a 
hideous mask, made of split, dried, and plaited palm leaves, 
with two " bull's-eyes," for light.f I could not help laugh- 
ing when these strange figures met my sight, and, to judge 
from the shaking of their shoulders, they were not less sus- 
ceptible to the merriment which they had caused. 

At 3 p. m. Ave left El Zaribah, travelling towards the 
S. W., and a wondrously picturesque scene met the eye. 
Crowds hurried along, habited in the pilgrim garb, whose 
whiteness contrasted strangely with their black skins, their 
newly shaven heads glistening in the sun, and long black 
hair streaming in the wind. The rocks rang with shouts of 
"Labbayk! Labbayk!" At a pass we fell in with the 
Wahhabis, accompanying the Baghdad caravan, screaming 
" here am I;" and, guided by a large, loud kettle-drum, 
they followed in double file the camel of a standard-bearer, 
whose green flag bore in huge white letters the formula of 
the Moslem creed. They were wild-looking mountaineers, 
dark and fierce, with hair twisted into thin dalik or plaits : 
each was armed with a long spear, a matchlock, or a dag- 
ger. They were seated upon coarse wooden saddles, with- 
out cushions or stirrups, a fine saddle-cloth alone denoting 

* The victim is sacrificed as a confession that the offender deems 
himself worthy of death ; the offerer is not allowed to taste any por- 
tion of his offering. 

f The reason why this " ugly" must be worn, is, that a woman's 
veil during the pilgrimage ceremonies is not allowed to touch her face. 


a chief. The women emulated the men ; they either guided 
their own dromedaries, or, sitting in pillion, they clung to 
their husbands ; veils they disdained, and their counte- 
nances certainly belonged not to a " soft sex." These 
Wahhabis were by no means pleasant companions. Most 
of them were followed by spare dromedaries, either un- 
laden or carrying water-skins, fodder, fuel, and other 
necessaries for the march. The beasts delighted in dash- 
ing furiously through one file, which being colligated, was 
thrown each time into the greatest confusion. And when- 
ever we were observed smoking, we were cursed aloud 
for infidels and idolaters. 

At about half-past 5 p. m. we entered a suspicious-look- 
ing place. On the right was a stony buttress, along whose 
base the stream, when there is one, flows ; and to this 
depression was our road limited by the rocks and thorn 
trees, which filled the other half of the channel. The left 
side was a precipice, grim and barren, but not so abrupt as 
its brother. Opposite us the way seemed barred by piles 
of hills, crest rising above crest into the far blue distance. 
Day still smiled upon the upper peaks, but the lower slopes 
and the fiumara bed were already curtained with grey 
sombre shade. 

^A damp seemed to fall upon our spirits as we ap- 
proached this Valley Perilous. I remarked with wonder 
that the voices of the women and children sank into silence, 
and the loud Labbaykas of the pilgrims were gradually 
stilled. Whilst still speculating upon the cause of this phe- 
nomenon it became apparent. A small curl of smoke, like 
a lady's ringlet, on the summit of the right-hand precipice 
caught my eye, and simultaneous with the echoing crack 
of the matchlock a high-trotting dromedary in front of me 
rolled over the sands — a bullet had split his heart — throw- 
ing his rider a goodly somerset of five or six yards. 


Ensued terrible confusion; women screamed, children 
shrieked, and men vociferated, each one striving with might 
and main to urge his animal out of the place of death. But 
the road being narrow, they only managed to jam the 
vehicles in a solid immovable mass. At every matchlock 
shot a shudder ran through the huge body, as when the 
surgeon's scalpel touches some more sensitive nerve. The 
irregular horsemen, perfectly useless, galloped up and down 
over the stones, shouting to and ordering one another. 
The Pacha of the army had his carpet spread at the foot of 
the left-hand precipice, and debated over his pipe with the 
officers what ought to be done. No good genius whis- 
pered " crown the heights." 

Then it was that the conduct of the Wahhabis found 
favor in my eyes. They came up, galloping their camels, 
with their elf-locks tossing in the wind, and their flaring 
matches casting a strange lurid light over their features. 
Taking up a position, one body began to fire upon the 
Utaybah robbers, whilst two or three hundred, dismount- 
ing, swarmed up the hill under the guidance of the Sherif 
Zayd. I had remarked this nobleman at El Medinah as a 
model specimen of the pure Arab. Like all Sherifs, he is 
celebrated for bravery, and has killed many with his own 
hand. When urged at El Zaribah to ride into Meccah, he 
swore that he would not leave the caravan till in sight 
of the walls ; and, fortunately for the pilgrims, he kept his 
word. Presently the firing was heard far in our rear — the 
robbers having fled ; the head of the column advanced, and 
the dense body of pilgrims opened out. Our forced halt 
was now exchanged for a flight. It required much man- 
agement to steer our desert-craft clear of danger ; but 
Shaykh Masud was equal to the occasion. That many Avere 
lost was evident by the boxes and baggage that strewed 
the shingles. I had no means of ascertaining the number 


of men killed and wounded: reports were contradictory, 
and exaggeration unanimous. The robbers were said to be 
150 in number: their object was plunder, and they would 
eat the shot camels. But their principal ambition was the 
boast, " We, the Utaybah, on such and such a night stopped 
the Sultan's mahmal one whole hour in the pass." 

As we advanced our escort took care to fire every large 
dry asclepias, to disperse the shades which buried us. Again 
the scene became wondrous wild. 

At the beginning of the skirmish I had primed my pis- 
tols, and sat with them ready for use. But soon seeing that 
there was nothing to be done, and, wishing to make an im- 
pression, — nowhere does Bobadil now "go down" but in 
the East, — I called aloud for my supper. Shaykh Nur, 
exanimate with fear, could not move. The boy Moham- 
med ejaculated only an "Oh, sir!" and the people around 
exclaimed in disgust, "By Allah! he eats!" Shaykh Ab- 
dullah, the Meccan, being a man of spirit, was amused by 
the spectacle. " Are these Afghan manners, Effendim ?" 
he inquired from the shugduf behind me. " Yes," I replied 
aloud, " in my country we always dine before an attack of 
robbers, because that gentry is in the habit of sending men 
to bed supperless." The Shaykh laughed aloud, but those 
around him looked offended. I thought the bravado this 
time mat place; but a little event which took place on my 
way to Jeddah proved that it was not quite a failure. 

On either side were ribbed precipices, dark, angry, and 
towering above, till their summits mingled with the glooms 
of night ; and between them formidable looked the chasm, 
down which our host hurried with shouts and discharges 
of matchlocks. The torch-smoke and the night-fires of 
flaming asclepias formed a canopy, sable above and livid 
red below, which hung over our heads like a sheet, and 
divided the cliffs into two equal parts. Here the fire 



flashed fiercely from a tall thorn, that crackled and shot up 
showers of sparks into the air ; there it died away in lurid 
gleams, which lit up a truly Stygian scnee. As usual, how- 
ever, the picturesque had its inconveniences. There was 
no path. Rocks, stone-banks, and trees obstructed our 
passage. The camels, now blind in darkness, then dazzled 
by a flood of light, stumbled frequently ; in some places 
slipping down a steep descent, in others sliding over a sheet 
of mud. There were furious quarrels and fierce language 
between camel-men and their hirers, and threats to fellow- 
travellers; in fact, we were united in discord. I passed 
that night crying, " Hai Hai ! '? switching the camel, and 
fruitlessly endeavoring to fustigate Masud's nephew, who 
resolutely slept on the water-bags. During the hours 
of darkness we made four or five halts, when we boiled 
coffee and smoked pipes, but men and beasts were begin- 
ning to suffer from a deadly fatigue. 

Dawn found us still travelling down the fiumara, which 
here is about 100 yards broad. 

We then turned northward, and sighted El Mazik, more 
generally known as Wady Laymun, the Valley of Limes. 
On the right bank of the fiumara stood the Meccan Sherif 's 
state pavilion, green and gold : it was surrounded by his 
attendants, and prepared to receive the Pacha of the cara- 
van. We advanced half a mile, and encamped temporarily 
in a hill-girt bulge of the fiumara bed. 

Shaykh Masud allowed us only four hours' halt ; he 
wished to precede the main body. After breaking our fast 
joyously upon limes, pomegranates, and fresh dates, we 
sallied forth to admire the beauties of the place. We are 
once more on classic ground, and this wady, celebrated for 
the purity of its air, has from remote ages been a favorite 
resort of the Meccans. 

Exactly at noon Masud seized the halter of the foremost 


camel, and we started down the fiumara. Troops of Be- 
douin girls looked over the orchard walls laughingly, and 
children came out to offer us fresh fruit and sweet water. 
In some places were clumps of trees, and scattered villages 
warned us that we were approaching a city. Far to the 
left rose the blue peaks of Taif, and the mountain road, a 
white thread upon the nearer heights, was pointed out to 
me. Here I first saw the tree, or rather shrub, which 
bears the balm of Gilead, erst so celebrated for its tonic 
and stomachic properties. I told Shaykh Masud to break 
off a twig, which he did heedlessly. The act was witnessed 
by our party with a roar of laughter, and the astounded 
shaykh was warned that he had become subject to an 
atoning sacrifice.* Of course he denounced me as the 
instigator, and I could not fairly refuse assistance. The 
tree has of late years been carefully described by many 
botanists ; I will only say that the bark resembled in color 
a cherry-stick pipe, the inside was a light yellow, and the 
juice made my fingers stick together. 

As we jogged on we were passed by the cavalcade of 
no less a personage than the Sherif of Meccah. Abd el 
Muttalib bin Ghalib is a dark, beardless old man, with 
African features, derived from his mother. He was plainly 
dressed in white garments and a white muslin turban, 
which made him look jet black ; he rode an ambling mule, 
and the only emblem of his dignity was the large green 
satin umbrella borne by an attendant on foot.f Scattered 

* This being one of the " Muharrimat," or actions forbidden to a 
pilgrim, At all times, say the Moslems, there are three vile trades, viz., 
those of the Harak el Hajar (stone-burner), the Kati el Shajar (tree-cut- 
ter), and the Bayi el Bashar (man-seller). 

f From India to Abyssinia the umbrella is the sign of royalty : the 
Arabs of Meccah and Sennaa probably derived the custom from the 


around him were about forty matchlock-men, mostly 

We halted as evening approached, and strained our 
eyes, but all in vain, to catch sight of Meccah, which lies 
in a winding valley. By Shaykh Abdullah's direction I 
recited, after the usual devotions, the following prayer. 
The reader is forewarned that it is difficult to preserve the 
flowers of Oriental rhetoric in a European tongue. 

" O Allah ! verily this is thy safeguard (Amn) and thy 
Sanctuary (Haram) ! Into it whoso entereth becometh 
safe (Amin). So deny (Harrim) my flesh and blood, my 
bones and skin, to hell-fire. O Allah ! save me from thy 
wrath on the day when thy servants shall be raised from 
the dead. I conjure thee by this that thou art Allah, 
besides whom is none (thou only), the merciful, the com- 
passionate. And have mercy upon our lord Moham- 
med, and upon the progeny of our lord Mohammed, 
and upon his followers, one and all!" This was con- 
cluded with the " Talbiyat," and with an especial prayer 
for myself. 

We again mounted, and night completed our disap- 
pointment. About 1 a.m. I was aroused by general excite- 
ment. " Meccah ! Meccah !" cried some voices ; " The 
Sanctuary ! O the Sanctuary !" exclaimed others ; and all 
burst into loud " Labbayk," not unfrequently broken by 
sobs. I looked out from my litter, and saw by the light of 
the southern stars the dim outlines of a large city, a shade 
darker than the surrounding plain. We were passing over 
the last ridge by a " winding path " flanked on both sides 
by watch-towers, which command the " Darb el Maala," or 
road leading from the north into Meccah. Thence we 
passed into the Maabidah (northern suburb), where the 
Sherif's palace is built. After this, on the left hand, came 
the deserted abode of the Sherif bin Aun, now said to be a 


" haunted house."* Opposite to it lies the Jannat el Maala, 
the holy cemetery of Meccah. Thence, turning to the 
right, we entered the Sulaymaniyah or Afghan quarter. 
Here the boy Mohammed, being an inhabitant of the Sha- 
miyah or Syrian ward, thought proper to display some ap- 
prehension. These two are on bad terms ; children never 
meet without exchanging volleys of stones, and men fight 
furiously with quarter-staves. Sometimes, despite the ter- 
rors of religion, the knife and sabre are drawn. But these 
hostilities have their code. If a citizen be killed, there is a 
subscription for blood-money. An inhabitant of one quar- 
ter, passing singly through another, becomes a guest ; once 
beyond the walls, he is likely to be beaten to insensibility 
by his hospitable foes. 

At the Sulaymaniyah we turned off the main road into 
a bye-way, and ascended by narrow lanes the rough heights 
of Jebel Hindi, upon which stands a small whitewashed and 
crenellated building called a " fort." Thence descending, 
we threaded dark streets, in places crowded with rude cots 
and dusky figures, and finally at 2 a. m. we found ourselves 
at the door of the boy Mohammed's house. 

We arrived on the morning of Sunday the 7th Zu'l 
Hijjah (11th September, 1853), and had one day before the 
beginning of the pilgrimage to repose and visit the Haram. 
From El Medinah to Meccah the distance, according to my 
calculation, was 248 English miles, which was accomplished 
in eleven marches. 

* I eannot conceive what made the accurate Niebuhr fall into the 
strange error that " apparitions are unknown in Arabia." Arabs fear 
to sleep alone, to enter the bath at night, to pass by cemeteries during 
dark, and to sit amongst r,uins, simply for fear of apparitions. And 
Arabia, together with Persia, has supplied half the Western World 
— Southern Europe — with its ghost stories and tales of angels, demons, 
and fairies. To quote Milton, the land is struck " with superstition as 
with a planet." 



The House of Allah has been so fully described by my pre- 
decessors, that there is little inducement to attempt a new 
portrait. Readers, however, may desire a view of the great 
sanctuary, and, indeed, without a plan and its explanation, 
the ceremonies of the Haram would be scarcely intelligible. 
I will do homage to the memory of the accurate Burck- 
hardt, and extract from his pages a description which may 
be illustrated by a few notes. 

" The Kaabah stands in an oblong square (enclosed by 
a great wall) 250 paces long, and 200 broad, none of the 
sides of which run quite in a straight line, though at first 
sight the whole appears to be of a regular shape. This open 
square is enclosed on the eastern side by a colonnade. The 
pillars stand in a quadruple row ; they are three deep on the 
other sides, and united by pointed arches, every four of 
which support a small dome plastered and whitened on the 
outside. These domes, according to Kotobeddyn, are 152 
in number.* The pillars are above twenty feet in height, 

* On each short side I counted 24 domes ; on the long 35. This 
would give a total of 118 along the cloisters. The Arabs reckon in all 


and generally from one foot and a half to one foot and three 
quarters in diameter; but little regularity has been observed 
in regard to them. Some are of white marble, granite or 
porphyry ; but the greater number are of common stone of 
the Meccah mountains. El Fasy states the whole at 589, 
and says they are all of marble excepting 126, which are of 
common stone, and three of composition. Kotobeddyn 
reckons 555, of which, according to him, 311 are of marble, 
and the rest of the stone taken from the neighboring moun- 
tains ; but neither of these authors lived to see the latest 
repairs of the mosque, after the destruction occasioned by a 
torrent in a. d. 1626.* Between every three or four columns 
stands an octagonal one, about four feet in thickness. On 
the east side are two shafts of reddish grey granite in one 
piece, and one fine grey porphyry with slabs of white feld- 
spath. On the north side is one red granite column, and 
one of fine-grained red porphyry ; these are probably the 
columns which Kotobeddyn states to have been brought 
from Egypt, and principally from Akhmin (Panopolis), when 
the chief (Caliph) El Mohdy enlarged the mosque in a. h. 
163. Among the 450 or 500 columns which form the enclo- 
sure I found not any two capitals or bases exactly alike. 
The capitals are of coarse Saracen workmanship ; some of 
them, which had served for former buildings, by the igno- 

152 ; viz. 24 on the east side, on the north 36, on the south 36 ; one on 
the mosque corner, near the Zarurah minaret; 16 at the porch of the 
Bab el Ziyadah ; and 1 5 at the Bab Ibrahim. The shape of these domes 
is the usual " Media-Naranja," and the superstition of the Meccans in- 
forms the pilgrim that they cannot be counted. Books reckon 1352 
pinnacles or battlements on the temple wall. 

* I counted in the temple 554 pillars. It is, however, difficult to be 
accurate, as the four colonnades and the porticos about the two great 
gates are irregular ; topographical observations, moreover, must here be 
much under difficulties. Ali Bey numbers them roughly at " plus de 
500 colonnes et pilastres." 


ranee of the workmen, have been placed upside down upon 
the shafts. I observed about half a dozen marble bases of 
good Grecian workmanship. A few of the marble columns 
bear Arabic or Cufic inscriptions, in which I read the dates 
863 and Y62 (a. h.)* A column on the east side exhibits a 
very ancient Cufic inscription, somewhat defaced, which I 
could neither read nor copy. Some of the columns are 
strengthened with broad iron rings or bands, f as in many 
other Saracen buildings of the East. 

" Some parts of the walls and arches are gaudily painted 
in stripes of yellow, red, and blue, as are also minarets. 
Paintings of flowers, in the usual Muselman style, are 
nowhere seen; the floors of the colonnades are paved 
with large stones badly cemented together." 

"Some paved causeways lead from the colonnades 
towards the Kaabah, or Holy House, in the centre. They 
are of sufficient breadth to admit four or five persons to walk 
abreast, and they are elevated about nine inches above the 
ground. Between these causeways, which are covered with 
fine gravel or sand, grass appears growing in several places, 
produced by the Zem Zem water oozing out of the jars- 
placed in (on) the ground in long rows during the day.J 
There is a descent of eight or ten steps from the gates 
on the north side into the platform of the colonnade, 

* The author afterwards informs us, that " the temple has been so 
often ruined and repaired, that no traces of remote antiquity are to be 
found about it." He mentions some modern and unimportant inscrip- 
tions upon the walls and over the gates. Knowing that many of the 
pillars were sent in ships from Syria and Egypt by the Caliph El Hahdi, 
a traveller would have expected better things. 

| The reason being, that " those shafts formed of the Meccan stone 
are mostly in three pieces ; but the marble shafts are in one piece." 

% The jars are little amphorae, each inscribed with the name of the 
donor and a peculiar cypher. 


and of three or four steps from the gates on the south 

" Towards the middle of this area stands the Kaabah ; 
it is 115 paces from the north colonnade, and 88 from the 
south. For this want of symmetry we may readily account, 
the Kaabah having existed prior to the mosque, which was 
built around it, and enlarged at different periods. The 
Kaabah is an oblong massive structure, 18 paces in length, 
14 in breadth, and from 35 to 40 feet in height. It is 
constructed of the grey Mekka stone, in large blocks 
of different sizes joined together, in a very rough manner, 
with bad cement.* It was entirely rebuilt, as it now stands, 
in a. d. 1627. The torrent in the preceding year had 
thrown down three of its sides, and, preparatory to its 
re-erection, the fourth side was, according to Asamy, pulled 
down, after the Olemas, or learned divines, had been con- 
sulted on the question whether mortals might be permitted 
to destroy any part of the holy edifice without incurring the 
charge of sacrilege and infidelity." 

" The Kaabah stands upon a base two feet in height, 
which presents a sharp inclined plane. f Its roof being flat, 
it has at a distance the appearance of a perfect cube. The 

* I would alter this sentence thus : — " It is built of fine grey granite 
in horizontal courses of masonry of irregular depth ; the stones are 
tolerably fitted together, and held by excellent mortar like Roman 
cement." The lines are also straight. 

\ This base is called El Shazarwan, from the Persian Shadarwan, a 
cornice, eaves, or canopy. It is in pent-house shape, projecting about a 
foot beyond the wall, and composed of fine white marble slabs, polished 
like glass ; there are two breaks in it, one opposite and under the door- 
way, and another in front of Ishmael's tomb. Pilgrims are directed, 
during circumambulation, to keep their bodies outside of the Shazarwan ; 
this would imply it to be part of the building, but its only use appears 
in the large brass rings welded into it, for the purpose of holding down 
the Kaabah covering. 



only door which affords entrance, and which is opened bnt 
two or three times a year,* is on the north side and about 
seven feet above the ground. In the first periods of Islam, 
however, when it was rebuilt in a. h. 64 by Ibn Zebeyr, 
chief of Mecca, it had two doors even with the ground- 
floor of the mosque. The present door (which, according 
to Azraky, was brought hither from Constantinople in a. d. 
1633) is wholly coated with silver, and has several gilt 
ornaments; upon its threshold are placed every night 
various small lighted wax candles, and perfuming pans, 
filled with musk, aloe-wood, <fcc." f 

"At the north-east (south-east) corner of the Kaabah, near 
the door, is the famous i Black Stone ;'J it forms a part of 

* In Ibn Jubair's time the Kaabah was opened every day in Rajab, 
and in other months on every Monday and Friday. The house may 
now be entered ten or twelve times a year gratis ; and by pilgrims as 
often as they can collect, amongst parties, a sum sufficient to tempt the 
guardians' cupidity. 

f Pilgrims and ignorant devotees collect the drippings of wax, the 
ashes of the aloe-wood, and the dust from the " Atabah," or threshold 
of the Kaabah, either to rub upon their foreheads or to preserve as 
relics. These superstitious practices are sternly rebuked by the Ulema. 

% I will not enter into the fabulous origin of the Hajar el Aswad. 
Some of the traditions connected with it are truly absurd. " When 
Allah," says Ali, "made covenant with the sons of Adam on the Day 
of Fealty, he placed the paper inside the stone ;" it will, therefore, 
appear at the judgment, and bear witness to all who have touched it. 
Moslems agree that it was originally white, and became black by reason 
of men's sins. It appeared to me a common aerolite covered with a 
thick shaggy coating, glossy and pitch-like, worn and polished. Dr. 
Wilson of Bombay showed me a specimen in his possession, which 
externally appeared to be a black slag, with the inside of a bright and 
sparkling greyish- white, the result of admixture of nickel with the iron. 
This might possibly, as the learned Orientalist then suggested, account 
for the mythic change of color, its appearance on earth after a thunder- 
atorm, and its being originally a material part of the heavens. Kutb el 


the sharp angle of the building* at four or five feet above 
the ground.f It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in 
diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a 
dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well 
joined together with a small quantity of cement, and per- 
fectly well smoothed : it looks as if the whole had been 
broken into many pieces by a violent blow, and then united 
again. It is very difficult to determine accurately the 
quality of this stone, which has been worn to its present 
surface by the millions of touches and kisses it has received. 
It appeared to me like a lava, containing several small 
extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellowish sub- 
stance. Its color is now a deep reddish brown, approaching 
to black. It is surrounded on all sides by a border com- 
posed of a substance which I took to be a close cement 
of pitch and gravel of a similar, but not quite the same 
brownish color.J This border serves to support its detached 

Din expressly declares that, when the Karamitah restored it after 
twenty -two years to the Meccans, men kissed it and rubbed it upon their 
brows ; and remarked that the blackness was only superficial, the inside 
being white. 

* Presenting this appearance in profile. The Hajar has suffered 
from the iconoclastic principle of Islam, having once narrowly escaped 
destruction by order of El Hakim of Egypt. In these days the metal 
rim serves as a protection as well as an ornament. 

f The height of the Hajar from the ground, according to my mea- 
surement, is four feet nine inches ; Ali Bey places it forty -two inches 
above the pavement. 

\ The color appeared to me black and metallic, and the centre of the 
stone was sunk about two inches below the metal circle. Eound the 
sides was a reddish brown cement, almost level with the metal, and 
sloping down to the middle of the stone. 

Ibn Jubair declares the depth of the stone unknown, but that most 
people believe it to extend two cubits into the wall. In his day it was 
three " Shibr" (the large span from the thumb to the little finger tip) 
broad, and one span long, with knobs, and a joining of four pieces, 


pieces ; it is two or three inches in breadth, and rises a little 
above the surface of the stone. Both the border and the 
stone itself are encircled by a silver band,* broader below 
than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable 
swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. 
The lower part of the border is studded with silver nails." 

"In the south-east corner of the Kaabah, or, as the 
Arabs call it, Rokn el Yemany, there is another stone 
about five feet from the ground ; it is one foot and a half in 
length, and two inches in breadth, placed upright, and 
of the common Meccah stone. This the people walking 
round the Kaabah touch only with the right hand ; they do 
not kiss it.f 

" On the north side of the Kaabah, just by its door, and 
close to the wall, is a slight hollow in the ground, lined 
with marble, and sufficiently large to admit of three per- 
sons sitting. Here it is thought meritorious to pray : the 
spot is called El Maajan, and supposed to be where 
Abraham and his son Ismail kneaded the chalk and mud 
which they used in building the Kaabah ; and near this 
Maajan the former is said to have placed the large stone 
upon which he stood while working at the masonry. On 
the basis of the Kaabah, just over the Maajan, is an ancient 
Cufic inscription ; but this I was unable to decipher, and 
had no opportunity of copying it." 

" On the west (north-west) side of the Kaabah, about 
two feet below its summit, is the famous Myzab, or water- 

which the Karamitah had broken. The stone was set in a silver band. 
Its softness and moisture were such, says Ibn Jubair, " that the sinner 
never would remove his mouth from it, which phenomenon made the 
Prophet declare it to be the covenant of Allah on earth." 

* The band is now a massive arch of gold or silver gilt. I found 
the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers long. 

f I have frequently seen it kissed by men and women. 


spout,* through which the rain-water collected on the roof 
of the building is discharged, so as to fall upon the ground ; 
it is about four feet in length, and six inches in breadth, as 
well as I could judge from below, with borders equal in 
height to its breadth. At the mouth hangs what is called 
the beard of the Myzab : a gilt board, over which the 
water flows. This spout was sent hither from Constanti- 
nople in a. h. 981, and is reported to be of pure gold. The 
pavement round the Kaabah, below the Myzab, was laid 
down in a. h. 826, and consists of various colored stones, 
forming a very handsome specimen of mosaic. There are 
two large slabs of fine verde antico in the centre, which, 
according to Makrizi, were sent thither, as presents from 
Cairo, in a. h. 241. This is the spot where, according to 
Mohammedan tradition, Ismayl the son of Ibrahim, and his 
mother Hijirah are buried ; and here it is meritorious for 
the pilgrim to recite a prayer of two Rikats. On this side 
is a semicircular wall, the two extremities of which are in a 
line with the sides of the Kaabah, and distant from it three 
or four feet, leaving an opening, which leads to the burial- 
place of Ismayl. The wall bears the name of El Hatym ; 
and the area which it encloses is called Hedjer, on account 
of its being separated from the Kaabah : the wall itself also 
is sometimes so called." 

" Tradition says that the Kaabah once extended as far 
as the Hatym, and that this side having fallen down just at 
the time of the Hadj, the expenses of repairing it were 
demanded from the pilgrims, under a pretence that the 
revenues of government were not acquired in a manner 
sufficiently pure to admit of their application towards a pur- 

* Generally called Myzab el Rahmah (of mercy). It carries rain 
from the roof, and discharges it upon Ishmael's grave, where pilgrims 
stand fighting to catch it. In El Edrisi's time it was of wood ; now it 
is said to be gold, but it looks very dingy. 


pose so sacred. The sum, however, obtained proved very- 
inadequate ; all that could be done, therefore, was to raise 
a wall, which marked the space formerly occupied by the 
Kaabah. This tradition, although current among the Meto- 
wefs (cicerones), is at variance with history; which declares 
that the Hedjer was built by the Beni Koreish, who con- 
tracted the dimensions of the Kaabah : that it was united 
to the building by Hadjadj, and again separated from it by 
Ibn Zebeyr. It is asserted by Fasy, that a part of the 
Hedjer as it now stands was never comprehended within 
the Kaabah. The law regards it as a portion of the 
Kaabah, inasmuch as it is esteemed equally meritorious to 
pray in the Hedjer as in the Kaabah itself; and the pil- 
grims who have not an opportunity of entering the latter 
are permitted to affirm upon oath that they have prayed in 
the Kaabah, although they have only prostrated themselves 
within the enclosure of the Hatym. The wall is built of solid 
stone, about five feet in height, and four in thickness, cased all 
over with white marble, and inscribed with prayers and invoca- 
tions neatly sculptured upon the stone in modern characters. 
These and the casing, are the work of El Ghoury, the Egyptian 
sultan, in a. h. 9 1 7. The walk round the Kaabah is performed 
on the outside of the wall — the nearer to it the better." 

" Round the Kaabah is a good pavement of marble* 
about eight inches below the level of the great square ; it 
was laid in a. h. 981, by order of the sultan, and describes 
an irregular oval; it is surrounded by thirty-two slender 
gilt pillars, or rather poles, between every two of which are 
suspended seven glass lamps, always lighted after sunset.f 

* It is a fine, close, grey granite, polished like glass by the feet of 
the faithful ; the walk is called El Mataf, or the place of circumam- 

f These are now iron posts, very numerous, supporting cross rods, 
and of tolerably elegant shape. In Ali Bey's time there were " trente- 


Beyond the poles is a second pavement, about eight paces 
broad, somewhat elevated above the first, but of coarser 
work ; then another six inches higher, and eighteen paces 
broad, upon which stand several small buildings ; beyond 
this is the gravelled ground ; so that two broad steps may 
be said to lead from the square down to the Kaabah. The 
small buildings just mentioned which surround the Kaabah 
are the five Makams, with the well of Zem Zem, the arch 
called Bab es Salam, and the Mambar." 

" Opposite the four sides of the Kaabah stand four other 
small buildings, where the Imaums of the orthodox Moham- 
medan sects, the Hanefy, Shafey, Hanbaly, and Maleky 
take their station, and guide the congregation in their 
prayers. The Makam el Maleky on the south, and that of 
Hanbaly opposite the Black Stone, are small pavilions open 
on all sides, and supported by four slender pillars, with a 
light sloping roof, terminating in a point, exactly in the 
style of Indian pagodas. The Makam el Hanefy, which is 
the largest, being fifteen paces by eight, is open on all sides, and 
supported by twelve small pillars ; it has an upper story, also 
open, where the Mueddin who calls to prayers takes his stand. 
This was first built in a. h. 923, by Sultan Selim I. ; it was 
afterwards rebuilt by Khoshgeldy, governor of Djidda, in 
947 ; but all the four Makams, as they now stand, were 
built in a. h. 1074. The Makam-es'-Shafey is over the well 
Zem Zem, to which it serves as an upper chamber.* 

une colonnes minces en piliers en bronze." Some native works say 
thirty-three, including two marble columns. Between each two hang 
several white or green glass globe-lamps, with wicks and oil floating ou 
water ; their light is faint and dismal. The whole of the lamps in the 
Harara is said to be more than 1000, yet they serve but to " make 
darkness visible." 

* Only the Muezzin takes his stand here, and the Shafeis pray 
behind their Imam on the pavement round the Kaabah, between the 


" Near their respective Makams the adherents of the 
four different sects seat themselves for prayers. During 
my stay at Meccah the Hanefys always began their prayer 
first ; but, according to Muselman custom, the Shafeys 
should pray first in the mosque ; then the Hamefys, 
Malekys, and Hanbalys. The prayer of the Maghreb is 
an exception, which they are all enjoined to utter together.* 
The Makam el Hanbaly is the place where the officers of 
government and other great people are seated during 
prayers ; here the Pacha and the sherif are placed, and in 
their absence the eunuchs of the temple. These fill the 
space under this Makam in front, and behind it the female 
Hadjys who visit the temple have their places assigned, to 
which they repair principally for the two evening prayers, 
few of them being seen in the mosque at the three other 
daily prayers : they also perform the Towaf, or walk round 
the Kaabah, but generally at night, though it is not uncom- 
mon to see them walking in the day-time among the 

" The present building which encloses Zem Zem stands 
close by the Makam Hanbaly, and was erected in a. h. 1072 : 
it is of a square shape, and of massive construction, with an 

corner of the well Zem Zem, and the Makam Ibrahim. This place is 
forty cubits from the Kaabah, that is to say, eight cubits nearer than the 
northern and southern " Makams." Thus the pavement forms an irregu- 
lar oval ring round the house. 

* In Burckhardt's time the schools prayed according to the seniority 
of their founders, and they uttered the Azan of El Maghrib together, 
because that is a peculiarly delicate hour, which easily passes by 
unnoticed. In the twelfth century, at all times but the evening, the 
Shafei began, then came the Maliki and Hanbali simultaneously, and, 
lastly, the Hanafi. Now the Shaykh el Muezzin begins the call, which 
is taken up by the others. He is a Hanafi ; as indeed are all the 
principal people at Meccah, only a few wild Sherifs of the hills being 


entrance to the north, opening into the room which contains 
the well. This room is beautifully ornamented with marbles 
of various colors ; and adjoining to it, but having a separate 
door, is a small room with a stone reservoir, which is always 
full of Zem Zem water. This the Hadjys get to drink by 
passing their hand with a cup through an iron grated open- 
ing, which serves as a window, into the reservoir, without 
entering the room. The mouth of the well is surrounded 
by a wall five feet in height and about ten feet in diameter. 
Upon this the people stand who draw up the water in lea- 
thern buckets, an iron railing being so placed as to prevent 
their falling in. In El Fasy's time there were eight marble 
basins in this room, for the purpose of ablution. 

" On the north-east (south-east) side of Zem Zem stand 
two small buildings, one behind the other, called El Kob- 
bateyn; they are covered by domes painted in the same 
manner as the mosque, and in them are kept water-jars, 
lamps, carpets, mats, brooms, and other articles used in the 
very mosque. These two ugly buildings are injurious to the 
interior appearance of the building, their heavy forms and 
structure being very disadvantageously contrasted with the 
light and airy shape of the Makams. I heard some Hadjys 
from Greece, men of better taste than the Arabs, express 
their regret that the Kobbateyn should be allowed to 
disfigure the mosque. They were built by Khoshgeldy, 
governor of Djidda a. h. 947; one is called Kobbert el 
Abbas, from having been placed on the site of a small 
tank said to have been formed by Abbas, the uncle of 

" A few paces west (north-west) of Zem Zem, and 
directly opposite to the door of the Kaabah, stands a ladder 
or staircase, which is moved up to the wall of the Kaabah 
on days when that building is opened, and by which the 
visitors ascend to the door. It is of wood, with some carved 


ornaments, moves on low wheels, and is sufficiently broad 
to admit of four persons ascending abreast. The first ladder 
was sent hither from Cairo in a. h. 818 byMoyaed Abou el 
Naser, king of Egypt." 

" In the same line with the ladder and close by it stands 
a lightly built insulated and circular arch, about fifteen feet 
wide, and eighteen feet high, called Bab-es-Salam, which 
must not be confounded with the great gate of the mosque, 
bearing the same name. Those who enter the Bait Ullah 
for the first time are enjoined to do so by the outer and 
inner Bab-es-»Salam ; in passing under the latter they are to 
exclaim, ' O God, may it be a happy entrance.' I do not 
know by whom this arch was built, but it appears to be 

" Nearly in front of the Bab-es-Salam and nearer than 
the Kaabah than any of the other surrounding buildings, 
stands the Makam Ibrahim.* This is a small building sup- 
ported by six pillars about eight feet high, four of which are 
surrounded from top to bottom by a fine iron railing, while 
they leave the space beyond the two hind pillars open; 
within the railing is a frame about five feet square, termi- 
nating in a pyramidal top, and said to contain the sacred 
stone upon which Ibrahim stood when he built the Kaabah, 
and which with the help of his son Ismayl he had removed 
from hence to the place called Maajen, already mentioned. 
The stone is said to have yielded under the weight of the 
Patriarch, and to preserve the impression of his foot still 
visible upon it ; but no hadjy has ever seen it,f as the frame 

* " The (praying) place of Abraham." Readers will remember that 
the Meccan Mosque is peculiarly connected with Ibrahim, whom Mos- 
lems prefer to all prophets except Mohammed. 

f This I believe to be incorrect. I was asked five dollars for per- 
mission to enter ; but the sum was too high for my finances. Learned 
men told me that the stone shows the impress of two feet, especially the 


is always entirely covered with a brocade of red silk richly 
embroidered. Persons are constantly seen before the railing 
invoking the good offices of Ibrahim ; and a short prayer 
must be uttered by the side of the Makam after the walk 
round the Kaabah is completed. In this part of the area 
the Khalif Soleyman built a fine reservoir in a.h. 97, which 
was filled from a spring east of Arafat ; but the Mekkawys 
destroyed it after his death, on the pretence that the water 
of Zem Zem was preferable.' , 

u On the side of Makam Ibrahim, facing the middle 
part of the front of the Kaabah, stands the Mambar, or 
pulpit of the mosque ; it is elegantly formed of fine white 
marble, with many sculptured ornaments ; and was sent as 
a present to the mosque in a. h. 969 by Sultan Soleyman 
Ibn Selym. A straight, narrow staircase leads up to the 
post of the Khatyb, or preacher, which is surmounted bya 
gilt polygonal pointed steeple, resembling an obelisk. 
Here a sermon is preached on Fridays and on certain festi- 
vals. These, like the Friday sermons of all mosques in the 
Mohammedan countries, are usually of the same turn, with 
some slight alterations upon extraordinary occasions." 

" I have now described all the buildings within the in- 
closure of the temple." 

" The gates of the mosque are nineteen in number, and 
are distributed about it without any order or symmetry." 

Burckhardt's description of the gates is short and im- 
perfect. On the eastern side of the mosque there are four 
principal entrances, seven on the southern side, three in 
the western, and five in the northern wall. 

The eastern gates are the Greater Bab el Salam, 
through which the pilgrim enters the mosque ; it is close to 

big toes, and devout pilgrims fill the cavities with water, which they 
rub over their eyes and faees. 


the north-east angle. Next to it the Lesser Bab el Salam, 
with two small arches ; thirdly, the Bab el Nabi, where the 
Prophet used to pass through from Khadijah's house ; and, 
lastly, near the south-east corner, the Bab Ali, or of the 
Beni Hashem, opening upon the street between Safa and 

Beyond the north-eastern corner, in the northern wall, 
is the Bab Duraybah, a small entrance with one arch. 
Next to it, almost fronting the Kaabah, is the grand adit, 
" Bab el Ziyadah," also known as Bab el Nadwah. Here 
the colonnade, projecting far beyond the normal line, forms 
a small square or hall supported by pillars, and a false 
colonnade of sixty-one columns leads to the true cloister of 
the mosque. This portion of the building being cool and 
shady, is crowded by the poor, the diseased, and the 
dying, during divine worship, and at other times by idlers, 
schoolboys, and merchants. Passing through three exter- 
nal arches, pilgrims descend by a flight of steps into the 
hall, where they deposit their slippers, it not being con- 
sidered decorous to hold them when circumambulating the 
Kaabah.* A broad pavement, in the shape of an irregular 
triangle, whose base is the cloister, leads to the circuit of 
the house. 

In the western wall are three entrances. The single- 
arched gate nearest to the north angle is called Bab Beni 
Saham or Bab el Umrah, because pilgrims pass through it 
to the Tanim and the ceremony El Umrah (Little Pilgrim- 
age). In the centre of the wall is the Bab Ibrahim, or Bab 
el Khayyatin (the Tailor's Gate) ; a single arch leading into 
a large projecting square, like that of the Ziyadah en- 

* An old pair of slippers is here what the " shocking bad hat " is at 
a crowded house in Europe, a self-preserver. Burckhardt lost three 
pair. I, more fortunate or less wealthy, only one. 


trance, but somewhat smaller. Near the south-west cor- 
ner is a double-arched adit, the Bab el Widaa (" of 
Farewell"): hence departing pilgrims issue forth from the 

At the western end of the southern wall is the two- 
arched Bab Umm Hani, so called after the lady's residence, 
when included in the mosque. Next to it is a similar 
building, which derives its name from the large college 
" Madrasat Ujlan ;" some call it Bab el Sherif, because it 
is opposite one of the palaces. After which, and also 
pierced with two arches, is the Bab el Jiyad, the gate 
leading to Jebel Jiyad. The next is also double arched, 
and called the Bab el Mujahid or el Rahmah (" of Mercy"). 
Nearly opposite the Kaabah, and connected with the 
pavement by a raised line of stone, is the Bab el Safa, 
through which pilgrims now issue to perform the ceremony 
" El Sai ; " it is a small and unconspicuous erection. Next 
to it is the Bab el Baglah with two arches, and close to the 
south-east angle of the mosque the Bab Yunus, alias Bab 
Bazan, alias Bab el Zayt, alias Bab el Asharah, " of the 
ten," because a favorite with the ten first Sahabah, or 
Companions of the Prophet. " Most of these gates," says 
Burckhardt, " have high pointed arches ; but a few round 
arches are seen among them, which, like all arches of this 
kind in the Hejar, are nearly semicircular. They are with- 
out ornament, except the inscription on the exterior, which 
commemorates the name of the builder, and they are all 
posterior in date to the fourteenth century. As each gate 
consists of two or three arches, or divisions, separated by 
narrow walls, these divisions are counted in the enu- 
meration of the gates leading into the Kaabah, and 
they make up the number thirty-nine. There being no 
doors to the gates, the mosque is consequently open at 
all times. I have crossed at every hour of the night, and 


always found people there, either at prayers or walking 

" The outside walls of the mosques are those of the 
houses which surround it on all sides. These houses be- 
longed originally to the mosque ; the greater part are now 
the property of individuals. They are let out to the 
richest Hadjys, at very high prices, as much as 500 piastres 
being given during the pilgrimage for a good apartment 
with windows opening into the mosque. Windows have in 
consequence been opened in many parts of the walls on 
a level with the street, and above that of the floor of the 
colonnades. Hadjys living in these apartments are allowed 
to perform the Friday's prayers at home ; because, having 
the Kaabah in view from the windows, they are supposed 
to be in the mosque itself, and to join in prayer those assem- 
bled within the temple. Upon a level with the ground 
floor of the colonnades and opening into them are small 
apartments formed in the walls, having the appearance of 
dungeons ; these have remained the property of the mosque 
while the houses above them belong to private individuals. 
They are let out to watermen, who deposit in them the 
Zem Zem jars, or to less opulent Hadjys who wish to live 
in the mosque. Some of the surrounding houses still 
belong to the mosque, and were originally intended for 
public schools, as their name of Medresa implies ; they are 
now all let out to Hadjys." 

" The exterior of the mosque is adorned with seven 
minarets irregularly distributed. They are quadrangular 
or round steeples, in no way differing from other minarets. 
The entrance to them is from the different buildings round 
the mosque, which they adjoin. A beautiful view of the 

* The Meccans love to boast that at no hour of the day or night ia 
the Kaabah ever seen without a devotee to perform " Tawaf." 


busy crowd below is attained by ascending the most 
northern one."* 

Having described at length the establishment attached 
to the mosque of El Medinah, I spare my readers a detailed 
account of the crowd of idlers that hang about the Meccan 
temple. The Naib el Haram, or vice-intendant, is one Say- 
yid Ali, said to be of Indian extraction ; he is superior to 
all the attendants. There are about eighty eunuchs, whose 
chief, Serur Agha, was a slave of Mohammed Ali Pacha. 
Their pay varies from 100 to 1000 piastres per mensem; it 
is, however, inferior to the Medinah salaries. The Imams, 
Muezzins, Khatibs, Zem Zemis, <fcc, &c, are under their re- 
spective Shaykhs who are of the Ulema. 

Briefly to relate the history of the Kaabah. 

The " House of Allah " is supposed to have been built 
and rebuilt ten times. 

1. The first origin of the idea is manifestly a symbolical 
allusion to the angels standing before the Almighty and 
praising his name. When Allah, it is said, informed the 
celestial throng that he was about to send a viceregent on 
earth, they deprecated the design. Being reproved in 
these words, "God knoweth what ye know not," and 
dreading eternal anger, they compassed the Arsh, or throne, 
in adoration. Upon this Allah created the Bait el Maamur, 
four jasper pillars with a ruby roof, and the angels circum- 
ambulated it, crying, "Praise to Allah, and exalted be 
Allah, and there is no Allah but Allah, and Allah is omni- 
potent ! " The Creator then ordered them to build a simi- 

* A stranger must be careful how he appears at a minaret window, 
unless he would have a bullet whizzing past his head. Arabs are espe- 
cially jealous of being overlooked, and have no fellow-feeling for vota- 
ries of " beautiful views." For this reason here, as in Egypt, a blind 
Muezzin is preferred, and many ridiculous stories are told about men 
who for years have counterfeited cecity to live in idleness. 


lar house for man on earth. This, according to Ali, took 
place 40, according to Abu Horayrah, 2000 years before 
the creation; both authorities, however, are agreed that 
the firmaments were spread above and the seven earths be- 
neath this Bait el Maamur. 

2. There is considerable contradiction concerning the 
second house. Kaab related that Allah sent down with 
Adam * a Khaymah, or tabernacle of hollow ruby, which 
the angels raised on stone pillars. This was also called Bait 
el Maamur. Adam received an order to compass it about ; 
after which, he begged a reward for obedience, and was 
promised a pardon to himself and all his progeny who 

Others declare that Adam, expelled from Paradise, and 
lamenting that he no longer heard the prayers of the 
angels, was ordered by Allah to take the stones of five 
hills, Lebanon, Sinai, Tur Zayt, Ararat, and Hira, which 
afforded the first stone. Gabriel, smiting his wing upon 
earth, opened a foundation to the seventh layer, and the 
position of the building is exactly below the heavenly Bait 
el Maamur, — a Moslem corruption of the legends concern- 
ing the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem. Our first 
father compassed it as he had seen the angels, and was by 
them taught the formula of prayer and the number of 

According to others, again, this second house was not 
erected till after the " angelic foundation" was destroyed 
by time. 

3. The history of the third house is also somewhat con- 
fused. When the Bait el Maamur, or, as others say, the 
tabernacle, was removed to heaven after Adam's death, a 

* It must be remembered that the Moslems, like many of the Jews, 
hold that Paradise was not on earth, but in the lowest firmament, which 
is, as it were, a reflection of earth 


stone-and-mud building was placed in its stead by his son 
Shays (Seth). For this reason it is respected by the 
Sabaaans, or Christians of St. John, as well as the Moslems. 
This Kaabah, according to some, was destroyed by the 
deluge, which materially altered its site. Others believe 
that it was raised to heaven. Others, again, declare that 
only the pillars supporting the heavenly tabernacle were 
allowed to remain. Most authorities agree in asserting 
that the Black Stone was stored up in Abu Kubays, whence 
that " first created of mountains" is called El Amin, " the 

4. Abraham and hi? son were ordered to build the 
fourth house upon the old foundations : its materials, accord- 
ing to some, were taken from the five hills which supplied 
the second ; others give the names Ohob, Kuds, Warka, 
Sinai, Hira, and a sixth, Abu Kubays. There was no roof; 
two doors, level with the ground, were pierced in the 
eastern and western walls ; and inside, on the right hand, 
near the present entrance, a hole for treasure was dug. 
Gabriel restored the Black Stone, which Abraham, by his 
direction, placed in its present corner, as a sign where cir- 
cumambulation is to begin ; and the patriarch then learned 
all the complicated rites of pilgrimage. When this house 
was completed, Abraham, by Allah's order, ascended Jebel 
Sabir, and called the world to visit the sanctified spot ; and 
all earth's sons heard him, even those " in their father's 
loins or in their mother's womb, from that day unto the 
day of resurrection." 

5. The Amalikah (descended from Imlik, great-grand- 
son of Sam, son of Noah), who first settled near Meccah, 
founded the fifth house. 

6. The sixth Kaabah was built about the beginning of 
the Christian era by the Beni Jurham, the children of 
Kahtan, fifth descendant from Noah. The Jurham in- 



habited the higher parts of Meccah, especially Jebel Kaa- 
kaan, so called from their clashing arms; whereas the 
Amalikah dwelt in the lower grounds, which obtained the 
name of Jiyad, from their generous horses. 

7. Kusay bin Kilab, governor of Meccah and fifth fore- 
father of the Prophet, built the seventh house, according to 
Abraham's plan. He roofed it over with palm leaves, 
stocked it with idols, and persuaded his tribe to settle near 
the Haram. 

8. Kusay's house was burnt down by a woman's censer, 
which accidentally set fire to the Kiswat, or covering, and 
the walls were destroyed by a torrent. A merchant-ship 
belonging to a Greek trader, being wrecked at Jeddah, 
afforded material for the roof, and the crew were employed 
as masons. In digging the foundation they came to a green 
stone, like a camel's hunch, which, struck with a pickaxe, 
sent forth blinding lightning, and prevented further exca- 

When the eighth house was being built Mohammed was 
in his twenty-fifth year. His surname of El Amin, the 
Honest, probably induced the tribes to make him their 
umpire for the decision of a dispute about the position of 
the Black Stone, and who should have the honor of raising 
it to its place. He decided for the corner chosen by Abra- 
ham, and distributed the " Kudos" amongst the clans. 

9. Abdullah bin Zubayr, nephew of Ayisha, re-built the 
Kaabah in a. h. 64. It had been weakened by fire, which 
burnt the covering, besides splitting the Black Stone into 
three pieces. Abdullah, hoping to fulfil a prophecy,* and 
seeing that the people of Meccah fled in alarm, pulled down 

* As will afterwards be mentioned, almost every Meecan knows the 
prophecy of Mohammed that the birthplace of his fate will be destroyed 
by an army from Abyssinia. 


the building by means of " thin-calved Abyssinian slaves ;" 
and when they came to Abraham's foundation he saw that 
it included El Ilijr, which part the Kuraysh had been unablo 
to build. The building was made of cut stone and fine lime 
brought from Yemen. During the building, a curtain was 
stretched round the walls, and pilgrims compassed them 
outside. When finished, it was perfumed inside and outside, 
and invested with brocade. Then Abdullah and all the citi- 
zens went forth to Tanim in procession, returned to perform 
Umrah, slew 100 victims, and rejoiced with great festi- 

The Caliph Abd el Malik bin Marwan besieged Abdullah 
bin Zubayr, who, after a brave defence, was slain. In a. h. 
74 Hajjaj bin Yusuf, general of Abd el Malik's troops, wrote 
to the prince, informing him that Abdullah had made unau- 
thorised additions to and changes in the Haram : the reply 
brought an order to rebuild the house. He gave the house 
a double roof, closed the western door, and raised the east- 
ern four cubits and a span above the Mataf, or circuit, which 
lie paved over. The Haram was enlarged and beautified by 
the Abbasides, especially by el Mehdi, El Mutamid, and El 
Mutazid. Some authors reckon, as an eleventh house, the 
repairs made by Sultan Murad Khan. On the night of Tues- 
day 20th Shaaban, a. h. 1030, a violent torrent swept the 
Haram; it rose one cubit above the threshold of the Kaabah, 
carried away the lamp-posts and the Makam Ibrahim, all the 
northern wall of the house, half of the eastern, and one-third 
of the western side. It subsided on Wednesday night. The 
repairs were not finished till a. h. 1040. The greater part, 
however, of the building dates from the time of El Hajjaj ; 
and Moslems, who never mention his name without a curse, 
knowingly circumambulate his work. 

The present proofs of the Kaabah's sanctity, as adduced 
by the learned, are puerile enough, but curious. The Ulema 


have made much of the verselet : " Verily the first house 
built for mankind (to worship in) is that in Beccah (Meccah), 
blessed and a salvation to the three worlds. Therein (fihi) 
are manifest signs, the standing-place of Abraham, which 
whoso enter eth shall be safe," (Kor. ch. 3.) The word 
u therein" is interpreted to mean Meccah, and the " mani- 
fest signs" the Kaabah, which contains such marvels as the 
foot-prints on Abraham's platform and the spiritual safe- 
guard of all who enter the Sanctuary. The other " signs," 
historical, psychical, and physical, are briefly these: The 
preservation of the Hajar el Aswad and the Makam Ibrahim 
from many foes, and the miracles put forth (as in the War 
of the Elephant), to defend the house; the violent and ter- 
rible deaths of the sacrilegious ; and the fact that, in the 
Deluge, the large fish did not eat the little fish in the Haram. 
A wonderful desire and love impel men from distant regions 
to visit the holy spot, and the first sight of the Kaabah 
causes awe and fear, horripilation and tears. Furthermore, 
ravenous beasts will not destroy their prey in the Sanctuary 
land, and the pigeons and other birds never perch upon the 
house, except to be cured of sickness, for fear of defiling the 
roof. The Kaabah, though small, can contain any number 
of devotees ; no one is ever hurt in it,* and invalids recover 
their health by rubbing themselves against the Kiswah and 
the Black Stone. Finally, it is observed that every day 
100,000 mercies descend upon the house, and especially that 
if rain come up from the northern corner there is plenty in 
Irak ; if from the south, there is plenty in Yemen ; if from 
the east, plenty in India ; if from the western, there is plenty 
in Syria ; and if from all four angles, general plenty is pre- 

* This is an audacious falsehood ; the Kaabah is scarcely ever opened 
without some accident happening. 




Scarcely had the first smile of morning beamed upon the 
rugged head of Abu Kubays * when we arose, bathed, and 
proceeded in our pilgrim garb to the Sanctuary. We en- 
tered by the Bab el Ziyadah, or principal northern door, 
descended two long flights of steps, traversed the cloister, 
and stood in sight of the Bait Allah. 

There at last it lay, the bourn of my long and weary 
pilgrimage, realizing the plans and hopes of many and many 
a year. The mirage medium of Fancy invested the huge 

* This hill bounds Meccah on the east. According to many Moslems, 
Adam, with his wife and his son Seth, lie buried in a cave here. 
Others place his tomb at Muna; the majority at Najaf. The early 
Christians had a tradition that our first parents were interred under 
Mount Calvary ; the Jews place their grave near Hebron. Habil (Abel), 
it is well known, is supposed to be entombed at Damascus ! and Kabil 
(Cain) rests at last under Jebel Shamsan, the highest wall of the Aden 
crater, where he and his progeny, tempted by Iblis, erected the first 
fire-temple. It certainly deserves to be the sepulchre of the first mur- 
derer. The worship, however, was probably imported from India, where 
Agni (the fire god) was, as the Vedas prove, the object of man's earliest 


catafalque and its gloomy pall with peculiar charms. There 
were no giant fragments of hoar antiquity as in Egypt, no 
remains of graceful and harmonious beauty as in Greece and 
Italy, no barbaric gorgeousness as in the buildings of India ; 
yet the view was strange, unique, and how few have looked 
upon the celebrated shrine ! I may truly say that, of all 
the worshippers who clung weeping to the curtain, or who 
pressed their beating hearts to the stone, none felt for the 
moment a deeper emotion than did the Haji from the far 
north. It was as if the poetical legend of the Arab spoke 
truth, and that waving wings of angels, not the sweet 
breeze of mornmg, were agitating and swelling the black 
coverings of the shrine. But, to confess humbling truth, 
theirs was the high feeling of religious enthusiasm, mine was 
the ecstasy of gratified pride. 

Few Moslems contemplate for the first time the Kaabah 
without fear and awe ; there is a popular jest against new 
comers, that they generally inquire the direction of prayer.* 
The boy Mohammed therefore left me for a few minutes to 
myself, but presently he warned me that it was time to be- 
gin. Advancing, we entered through the Bab Beni Shay- 
bah, the " Gate of the Sons of the Old Woman."f There 
we raised our hands, repeated the Labbayk, the Takbir, 
and the Tahlil ; after which we uttered certain supplications, 

* This being the Kiblah, or fronting place, Moslems can pray all 
around it; a circumstance which of course cannot take place in any 
spot of El Islam but the Haram. 

•j- The popular legend of this gate is, that when Abraham and his 
son were ordered to rebuild the Kaabah, they found the spot occupied 
by an old woman. She consented to remove her house on condition 
that the key of the new temple should be entrusted to her and to her 
descendants for ever and ever. The origin of this is, that Beni Shay bah 
means the " sons of an old woman " as well as " descendants of Shay- 
bah." According to others, the Kaabah key was committed to the charge 
of Usman bin Talhah by the Prophet, 


and drew our hands down our faces. Then we proceeded 
to the Shafei's place of prayer — the open pavement between 
the Makam Ibrahim and the well Zem Zem, — where we 
performed the usual two prostrations in honor of the mos- 
que. This was followed by a cup of holy water * and a 
present to the Sakkas, or carriers, who for the consideration 
distributed a large earthen vaseful in my name to poor 
pilgrims. We then advanced towards the eastern angle of 
the Kaabah, in which is inserted the Black Stone, and 
standing about ten yards from it, repeated with upraised 
hands, " There is no god but Allah alone, whose covenant 
is truth, and whose servant is victorious. There is no god 
but Allah, without sharer, his is the kingdom ; to him be 
praise, and he over all things is potent." After which we 
approached as close as we could to the stone. A crowd of 

* The word Zem Zem has a doubtful origin. Some derive it from 
Zam Zam, or murmuring of its waters, others from Zam ! Zam ! (fill ! 
fiUL-i. e. the bottle), Hagar's exclamation when she saw the stream. 

/Sale translates it stay ! stay ! and says, that Hagar called out in the 
Egyptian language, to prevent her son wandering. 
The produce of Zem Zem is held in great esteem. It is used for 
drinking and ablution, but for no baser purposes; and the Meccans 
advise pilgrims always to break their fast with it. It is apt to cause 
diarrhoea and boils, and I never saw a stranger drink it without a wry 
face. Sale is decidedly correct in his assertion ; the flavor is a salt-bit- 
ter, much resembling an infusion of a tea spoonful of Epsom salts in 
a large tumbler of tepid water. Moreover it is exceedingly " heavy " 
to the taste. For this reason Turks and other strangers prefer rain-water 
collected in cisterns and sold for five farthings a gugglet. It was a 
favorite amusement with me to watch them whilst they drank the holy 
water, and to taunt their scant irreverent potations. 

The water is transmitted to distant regions in glazed earthen jars 
covered with basket work, and sealed by the Zem Zemis. Eeligious 
men break their lenten fast with it, apply it to their eyes to brighten 
vision, and imbibe a few drops at the hour of death, when Satan 
stands by holding a bowl of purest water, the price of the departing soul. 


pilgrims preventing our touching it that time, we raised our 
hands to our ears in the first position of prayer, and then 
lowering them, exclaimed, " O Allah (I do this), in thy be- 
lief, and in verification of thy book, and in pursuance of 
thy Prophet's example — may Allah bless him and preserve ! 
O Allah, I extend my hand to thee, and great is my desire 
to thee ! O accept thou my supplication, and diminish my 
obstacles, and pity my humiliation, and graciously grant me 
thy pardon." After which, as we were still unable to reach 
the stone, we raised our hands to our ears, the palms facing 
the stone, as if touching it, recited the Takbir, the Tahlil, 
and the Hamdilah, blessed the Prophet, and kissed the 
finger-tips of the right hand. 

Then commenced the ceremony of " Tawaf," or circum- 
ambulation, our route being the " Mataf," or low oval of 
polished granite immediately surrounding the Kaabah. I 
repeated, after my Mutawwif, or cicerone,* the Niyat of 
Tawaf. Then we began the prayer, " O Allah (I do this), 
in thy belief, and in verification of thy book, and in faithful- 
ness to thy covenant, and in pursuance of the example 
of the Prophet Mohammed — may Allah bless him and pre- 
serve ! " till we reached the place El Multazem, between 
the corner of the Black Stone and the Kaabah door. Here 
we ejaculated " O Allah, thou hast rights, so pardon my 
transgressing them." Opposite the door we repeated, " O 
Allah, verily the house is thy house, and the Sanctuary thy 
Sanctuary, and the safeguard thy safeguard, and this is the 
place of him who flies to thee from (hell) fire ! " At the little 
building called Makam Ibrahim we said, " O Allah, verily 
this is the place of Abraham, who took refuge with and fled 
to thee from the fire ! — O deny my flesh and blood, my skin 
and bones to the (eternal) flames ! " As we paced slowly 

* The Mutawwif, or Dalil, is the guide at Meccah. 


round the north or Irak corner of the Kaabah we exclaimed, 
" O Allah, verily I take refuge with thee from polytheism 
and disobedience, hypocrisy and evil conversation, and 
evil thoughts concerning family, and property, and pro- 
geny ! " When fronting the Mizab, or spout, we repeated 
the words, " O Allah, verily I beg of thee faith which shall 
not decline and a certainty which shall not perish, and the 
good aid of thy Prophet Mohammed — may Allah bless him 
and preserve ! O Allah, shadow me in thy shadow on that 
day when there is no shade but thy shadow, and cause me 
to drink from the cup of thy Prophet Mohammed — may 
Allah," &c. ! — u that pleasant draught after which is no 
thirst to all eternity, O Lord of honor and glory ! " Turn- 
ing the west corner, or the Rukn el Shami, we exclaimed, 
" O Allah, make it an acceptable pilgrimage, and a forgive- 
ness of sins, and laudable endeavor, and a pleasant action 
(in thy sight), and a store which perish eth not, O thou 
glorious ! O thou pardoner ! " This was repeated thrice,, 
till we arrived at the Yemani, or southern corner, where, 
the crowd being less importunate, we touched the wall with 
the right hand, after the example ©f the Prophet, and 
kissed the finger-tips. Between the south angle and that 
of the Black Stone, where our circuit would be completed, 
we said, " O Allah, verily I take refuge with thee from infi- 
delity, and I take refuge with thee from want, and from the 
tortures of the tomb, and from the troubles of life and 
death. And I fly to thee from ignominy in this world and 
the next, and implore thy pardon for the present and for 
the future. O Lord, grant to me in this life prosperity, and 
in the next life prosperity, and save me from punishment 
of fire." 

Thus finished a Shaut, or single course round the house. 
Of these we performed the three first at the pace called 
Harwalah, very similar to the French "pas gymnastiquef* 



or Tarammul, that is to say, cc moving the shoulders as if 
walking in sand." The four latter are performed in Taam- 
mul, slowly and leisurely ; the reverse of the Sai, or run- 
ning. The Moslem origin of this custom is too well known 
to require mention. After each Taufah, or circuit, we 
being unable to kiss or even to touch the Black Stone, 
fronted towards it, raised our hands to our ears, exclaimed 
" In the name of Allah, and Allah is omnipotent ! " kissed 
our fingers, and resumed the ceremony of circumambula- 
tion, as before, with " Allah, in thy belief," &c. ! 

At the conclusion of the Tawaf it was deemed advisable 
to attempt to kiss the stone. For a time I stood looking 
in despair at the swarming crowd of Bedouin and other 
pilgrims that besieged it. But the boy Mohammed was 
equal to the occasion. During our circuit he had displayed 
a fiery zeal against heresy and schism, by foully abusing 
every Persian in his path ; * and the inopportune intro- 
duction of hard words into his prayers made the latter 
a strange patchwork ; as " Ave Maria purissima — arrah, 
don't ye be letting the pig at the pot — sanctissima," and so 
forth. He might, for instance, be repeating " and I take 
refuge with thee from ignominy in this world," when " O 
thou rejected one, son of the rejected!" would be the 
interpolation addressed to some long-bearded Khorasani, — 
" and in that to come — O hog and brother of a hoggess !" 
And so he continued till I -wondered that no one dared to 

* In a.d. 16*74, some wretch smeared the Black Stone with impurity, 
and every one who kissed it retired with a sullied beard. The Persians, 
says Burckhardt, were suspected of this sacrilege, and now their ill- 
fame has spread far ; at Alexandria they were described to me as a peo- 
ple who defile the Kaabah. It is scarcely necessary to say, that a 
Shiah as well as a Sunni would look upon such an action with lively 
horror. The defilement of the Black Stone was probably the work of 
some Jew or Greek, who risked his life to gratify a furious bigotry. 


turn and rend him. After vainly addressing the pilgrims, 
of whom nothing could be seen but a mosaic of occiputs 
and shoulder-blades, the boy Mohammed collected about 
half a dozen stalwart Meccans, with whose assistance, by 
sheer strength, we wedged our way into the thin and light- 
legged crowd. The Bedouins turned round upon us like 
wild cats, but they had no daggers. The season being 
autumn, they had not swelled themselves with milk for six 
months ; and they had become such living mummies, that 
I could have managed single-handed half a dozen of them. 
After thus reaching the stone, despite popular indignation, 
testified by impatient shouts, we monopolised the use of it 
for at least ten minutes. Whilst kissing it and rubbing 
hands and forehead upon it I narrowly observed it, and 
came away persuaded that it is a big aerolite.* 

Having kissed the stone, we fought our way through 
the crowd to the place called El Multazem. 

After embracing the Multazem we repaired to the 
Shafei's place of prayer near the Makam Ibrahim, and there 
recited two prostrations, technically called " Sunnat el 
Tawaf," or the (Prophet's) practice of circumambulation. 
The chapter repeated in the first was " Say thou, O ye infi- 
dels : " in the second, u Say thou he is the one God." We 
then went to the door of the building in which is Zem Zem : 
there I was condemned to another nauseous draught, and 
was deluged with two or three skinfuls of water dashed 

* It is curious that almost all travellers agree upon one point, 
namely, that the stone is volcanic. Ali Bey calls it " mineralogically" 
a " block of volcanic basalt, whose circumference is sprinkled with 
little crystals, pointed and straw-like, with rhombs of tile-red feldspath 
upon a dark background, like velvet or charcoal, except one of its pro- 
tuberances, which is reddish." Burckhardt thought it was " a lava con- 
taining several small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellow- 
ish substance." 


over my head en douche. This ablution causes sins to 
fall from the spirit like dust.* During the potation we 
prayed, " O Allah, verily I beg of thee plentiful daily 
bread, and profitable learning, and the healing of every 
disease ! " Then we returned towards the Black Stone, 
stood far away opposite, because unable to touch it, ejacu- 
lated the Tekbir, the Tahlil, and the Hamdilah, and tho- 
roughly worn out, with scorched feet and a burning head — 
both extremitieSj it must be remembered, were bare, and 
various delays had detained us till ten a.m. — I left the 

In the evening, accompanied by the boy Mohammed, 
and followed by Shaykh Nur, who carried a lantern and 
a praying-rug, I again repaired to the "Navel of the 
World ;"f this time aesthetically to enjoy the delights of 
the hour after the " gaudy, babbling, and remorseful day." 
The moon, now approaching the full, tipped the brow of 
Abu Kubays, and lit up the spectacle with a more solemn 
light. In the midst stood the huge bier-like erection, — 

" Black as the wings 
Which some spirit of ill o'er a sepulchre flings," — 

except where the moonbeams streaked it like jets of silver 
falling upon the darkest marble. It formed the point of 
rest for the eye ; the little pagoda-like buildings and domes 
around it, with all their gilding and fretwork, vanished. 
One object, unique in appearance, stood in view — the 

* These superstitions, I must remark in fairness, belong only to the 

\ Ibn Haukal begins his cosmography with Meccah " because the 
temple of the Lord is situated there, and the holy Kaabah is the navel 
of the earth, and Meccah is styled in sacred writ the parent city, or the 
mother of towns." Unfortunately, Ibn Haukal, like most other Moham- 
medan travellers and geographers, says no more about Meccah. 


temple of the one Allah, the God of Abraham, of Ishmael, 
and his posterity. Sublime it was, and expressing by all 
the eloquence of fancy the grandeur of the One Idea 
which vitalised El Islam, and the sternness and stead- 
fastness of its votaries. 

The oval pavement around the Kaabah was crowded 
with men, women, and children, mostly divided into par- 
ties, which followed a Mutawwif ; some walking steadily, 
and others running, whilst many stood in groups to prayer. 
What a scene of contrast! Here stalked the Bedouin 
woman, in her long black robe like a nun's serge, and 
poppy-colored face-veil, pierced to show two fiercely flash- 
ing orbs. There an Indian woman, with her semi-Tartar 
features, nakedly hideous, and her thin parenthetical legs, 
encased in wrinkled tights, hurried round the fane. Every 
now and then a corpse, borne upon its wooden shell, cir- 
cuited the shrine by means of four bearers, whom other 
Moslems, as is the custom, occasionally relieved. A few 
fair-skinned Turks lounged about, looking cold and repul- 
sive, as their wont is. In one place a fast Calcutta 
" Khitmugar" stood, with turban awry and arms akimbo, 
contemplating the view jauntily, as those gentlemen's gen- 
tlemen will do. In another, some poor wretch, with arms 
thrown on high, so that every part of his person might 
touch the Kaabah, was clinging to the curtain and sobbing 
as though his heart would break. 

From this spectacle my eyes turned towards Abu 
Kubays. The city extends in that direction half way up 
the grim hill. Some writers liken it to Florence ; but con- 
ceive a Florence without beauty ! To the south lay Jebel 
Jiyad the greater, also partly built over and crowned with a 
fort, which at a distance looks less useful than romantic : a 
flood of pale light was sparkling upon its stony surface. 
Below, the minarets became pillars of silver, and the clois- 


ters dimly streaked by oil lamps, bounded the view of the 
temple with horizontal lines of shade. 

Before nightfall the boy Mohammed rose to feed the 
pigeons,* for whom he had brought a pocketful of barley. 
He went to the place where these birds flock ; the line of 
pavement leading from the isolated arch to the eastern 
cloisters. During the day women and children are to be 
seen sitting here, with small piles of grain upon little plaited 
trays of basket-work. For each they demand a copper 
piece ; and religious pilgrims consider it their duty to pro- 
vide the revered blue rooks with a plentiful meal. 

Late in the evening I saw a negro in the state called 
Malbus — religious phrenzy. To all appearance a Takruri, 
he was a fine and powerful man, as the numbers required 
to hold him testified. He threw his arms widely about 
him, uttering shrill cries, which sounded like 16 ! le ! le ! le ! 
and when held, he swayed his body, and waved his head 
from side to side, like a chained and furious elephant, 
straining out the deepest groans. The Africans appear 
unusually subject to this nervous state, which, seen by the 
ignorant, and the imagination would at once suggest a 
" demoniacal possession." f Either their organisation is more 
impressionable, or more probably the hardships, privations, 

* The Moslems connect the pigeon on two occasions with their faith ; 
first, when that bird appeared to whisper in Mohammed's ear, and, 
secondly, during the flight to El Medinah. Moreover, in many coun- 
tries they are called "Allah's proclaimers," because their movement 
when cooing resembles prostration. 

At Meccah they are called the doves of the Kaabah, and never 
appear at table. They are remarkable for propriety when sitting upon 
the holy building. This may be a minor miracle: I would rather 
believe that there is some contrivance on the roof. 

| In the Mandal, or palin-divination, a black slave is considered the 
best subject. European travellers have frequently remarked their ner- 
vous sensibility. 


and fatigues endured whilst wearily traversing inhospitable 
wilds and perilous seas, have exalted their imaginations to a 
pitch bordering upon frenzy. Often they are seen prostrate 
on the pavement, or clinging to the curtain, or rubbing 
their foreheads upon the stones, weeping bitterly, and 
pouring forth the wildest ejaculations. 

That night I stayed in the Haram till 2 a. m., wishing to 
see if it would be empty. But the morrow was to witness 
the egress to Arafat ; many, therefore, passed the hours of 
darkness in the Haram. Numerous parties of pilgrims sat 
upon their rugs, with lanterns in front of them, conversing, 
praying, and contemplating the Kaabah. The cloisters 
were full of merchants, who resorted there to " talk shop " 
and vend such holy goods as combs, tooth-sticks, and 
rosaries. Before 10 p. m. I found no opportunity of pray- 
ing the usual two prostrations over the grave of Ishmael. 
After waiting long and patiently, at last I was stepping into 
the vacant place, when another pilgrim rushed forward ; the 
boy Mohammed, assisted by me, instantly seized him, and, 
despite his cries and struggles, taught him to wait. Till 
midnight we sat chatting with the different ciceroni, who 
came up to offer their services. I could not help remarking 
their shabby and dirty clothes, and was informed that, 
during pilgrimage, when splendor is liable to be spoiled, 
they wear out old dresses, and appear endimanches for the 
Muharram fete, when most travellers have left the city. 
Presently, my two companions, exhausted with fatigue, fell 
asleep ; I went up to the Kaabah, with the intention of 
" obtaining" a bit of the torn, old Kiswat or curtain, but 
too many eyes were looking on* The opportunity, how- 

* At this season of the year the Kiswat is much tattered at the base, 
partly by pilgrims' fingers, and partly by the strain of the cord which 
confines it when the wind is blowing. It is considered a mere peccadillo 
to purloin a bit of the venerable stuff: but as the officers of the temple 


ever, was favorable for a survey, and with a piece of tape, 
and the simple processes of stepping and spanning, I man- 
aged to measure all the objects concerning which I was 

At last sleep began to weigh heavily upon my eyelids. 
I awoke my companions, and in the dizziness of slumber 
they walked with me through the tall, narrow street, to 
our home in the Shamiyah. The brilliant moonshine pre- 
vented our complaining, as other travellers have had reason 
to do, of the darkness and the difficulty of Meccah's streets. 
The town, too, appeared safe; there were no watchmen, 
and yet people slept everywhere upon cots placed opposite 
their open doors. Arrived at the house, we made some 
brief preparations for snatching a few hours' sleep upon the 
Mastabah — a place so stifling, that nothing but utter ex- 
haustion could induce lethargy there. 

make money by selling it, they certainly would visit detection with an 
unmerciful application of the quarter-staff. The piece in my possession 
was given to me by the boy Mohammed before I left Meccah. "Waist- 
coats made of the Kiswat still make the combatant invulnerable in 
battle, and are considered presents fit for princes. The Moslems 
generally try to secure a strip of this cloth as a mark for the Koran, 
&e., &g. 



The word Hajj is explained by Moslem divines to mean 
" Kasd," or aspiration, and to express man's sentiment that 
he is but a wayfarer on earth wending towards another and 
a nobler world. This explains the origin and the belief 
that the greater the hardships the higher will be the reward 
of the pious wanderer. He is urged by the voice of his 
soul : " O thou who toilest so hard for worldly pleasures 
and perishable profit, wilt thou endure nothing to win a 
more lasting reward ?" Hence it is that pilgrimage is com- 
mon to all old faiths. The Hindus still wander to Egypt, 
to Tibet, and to the inhospitable Caucasus ; the classic 
philosophers visited Egypt ; the Jews annually flocked to 
Jerusalem; and the Tartars and Mongols — Buddhists — 
journey to distant Lamaserais. 

Every Moslem is bound, under certain conditions,* to 

* The two extremes, between which lie many gradations, are these : 
Abu Hanifah directs every Moslem and Moslemah to perform the pil- 
grimage if they have health and money for the road and the support of 
their families ; moreover, he allows a deputy-pilgrim, whose expenses 
must be paid by the principal. Ibn Malik, on the contrary, enjoins 


pay at least one visit to the Holy City. This constitutes 
the Hajjat el Farz (the one obligatory pilgrimage), or Haj- 
jat el Islam, of the Mohammedan faith. Repetitions be- 
come mere Sunnats, or practices of the Prophet, and are 
therefore supererogatory. Some European writers have of 
late years labored to represent the Meccan pilgrimage as a 
fair, a pretext to collect merchants and to afford Arabia 
the benefits of purchase and barter. It would be vain to 
speculate whether the secular or the spiritual element ori- 
ginally prevailed; most probably each had its portion. 
But those who peruse this volume will see that, despite the 
comparatively lukewarm piety of the age, the Meccan pil- 
grimage is religious essentially, accidentally an affair of 

Moslem pilgrimage is of three kinds. 

every follower to visit Meccah, if able to walk, and to earn his bread 
on the way. 

As a general rule, in El Islam there are four Shurut el Wujub, or 
necessary conditions, viz. :— 

1. Islam, the being a Moslem. 

2. Bulugh, adolescence. 

3. Hurriyat, the being a free man. 

4. Akl, or mental sanity. 

Other authorities increase the conditions to eight, viz. : — 

5. Wujud el Zad, sufficiency of provision. 

6. El Rahlah, having a beast of burden, if living two days' journey 
from Meccah. 

7.- Takhliyat el Tarik, the road being open ; and 
8. Imkan el Masir, the being able to walk two stages, if the pilgrim 
hath no beast. 

Others, again, include all conditions under two heads — 

1. Sihhat, health. 

2. Istitaat, ability. 

These subjects have exercised not a little the casuistic talents of the 
Arab doctors : a folio volume might be filled with differences of opinion 
on the subject, " Is a blind man sound?" 


1. El Mukarinah (the uniting) is when the votary per- 
forms the Hajj and the Umrah together, as was done by 
the Prophet in his last visit to Meccah. 

2. El Ifrad (singulation) is when either the Hajj or the 
Umrah is performed singularly, the former preceding the 
latter. The pilgrim may be either El Mufrid b'il Hajj (one 
who is performing only the Hajj), or vice versd, El Mufrid 
b'il Umrah. According to Abu Hanifah, this form is more 
efficacious than the following. 

3. El Tamattu ("possession") is when the pilgrim as- 
sumes the Ihram, and preserves it throughout the months 
of Shawwal, Z'ul Kaadah, and nine days (ten nights) in 
Zu'l Hijjah,* performing Hajj and Umrah the while. 

There is another threefold division of pilgrimage : — 

1. Umrah (the little pilgrimage), performed at any 
time except the pilgrimage season. It differs in some of 
its forms from Hajj, as will afterwards appear. 

2. Hajj (or simple pilgrimage), performed at the proper 

3. Hajj el Akbar (the great pilgrimage) is when the 
u day of Arafat" happens to fall upon a Friday. This is a 
most auspicious occasion. 

The following compendium of the Shafei pilgrim rites 
is translated from a little treatise by Mohammed of Shir- 
bin, surnamed El Khatib, a learned doctor, whose work is 
generally read in Egypt and the countries adjoining. 


" Know," says the theologist, with scant preamble, " that the 
acts of El Hajj, or pilgrimage, are of three kinds : — 

* At any other time of the year Ihram is considered Makruh, or 
objectionahle, without being absolutely sinful 

■J; In other books the following directions are given to the intended 


"1. El Arkan or Faraiz; those made obligatory by Koranic 
precepts, and therefore essentially necessary, and not admitting 
expiatory or vicarious atonement, either in Hajj or Umrah. 

" 2. El Wajibat (requisites) ; the omission of which may, ac- 
cording to some schools, be compensated for the Fidyat, or atoning 
sacrifice: and— 

"3. El Sunan (pi. of Sunnat), the practice of the Prophet, which 
may be departed from without positive sin. 

" Now, the Arkan, the 'pillars' upon which the rite stands, are 
six in number, viz. : — 

pilgrim: — Before leaving home he must pray two prostrations, conclud- 
ing the orisons with a long supplication and blessings upon relatives, 
friends, and neighbors, and he must distribute not less than seven silver 
pieces to the poor. The day should be either a Thursday or a Satur- 
day ; some, however, say 

" Allah hath honored the Monday and the Thursday." 

If possible, the first of the month should be chosen, and the hour 
early dawn. Moreover, the pilgrim should not start without a Kafik, 
or companion, who should be a pious as well as a travelled man. The 
other preambles to journeying, are the following. Istikharah, consult- 
ing the rosary and friends. Khulus el Niyat, vowing pilgrimage to 
the Lord (not for lucre or revenge). Settling worldly affairs, paying 
debts, drawing up a will, and making arrangements for the support of 
one's family. Hiring animals from a pious person. The best monture 
is a camel, because preferred by the Prophet ; an ass is not commenda- 
ble ; a man should not walk if he can afford to ride ; and the palan- 
quin or litter is, according to some doctors, limited to invalids. Recit- 
ing long prayers when mounting, halting, dismounting, and at nightfall. 
On hills the Takbir should be used : the Tasbih is properest for vales 
and plains ; and Meccah should be blessed when first sighted. Avoid- 
ing abuse, curses, or quarrels. Sleeping like the Prophet, namely, in 
early night (when prayer hour is distant), with " Iftirash," or lying at 
length with the right cheek on the palm of the dexter hand ; and near 
dawn with " Ittaka," i. e. propping the head upon the hand, with the 
arm resting upon the elbow. And, lastly, travelling with collyrium- 
pot, looking-glass and comb, needle and thread for sewing, scissors and 
tooth-stick, staff and razor. 


" 1. El Ihram ('rendering unlawful'), or the wearing pilgrim 
garb and avoiding oertain actions. 

"2. El Wukuf, the 'standing' upon Mount Arafat. 

" 3. The Tawaf el Ifazah, or circumambulation of impetuosity* 

"4. The Sai, or course between Mounts Safa and Marwah. 

" 5. El Halk ; tonsure (of the whole or part) of the head for 
men ; or taksir, cutting the hair (for men and women).f 

" 6. El Tartib, or the due order of the ceremonies, as above 

" Now, the "Wajibat (requisites of pilgrimage, also called ' Nu- 
suk') are five in number, viz. : — 

"1. El Ihram, or assuming pilgrim garb, from the Mikat, or 
fixed limit. 

" 2. The Mabit, or nighting at Muzdalifah : for this a short por- 
tion, generally in the latter watch, preceding the Yaum el Nahr, or 
victim day, suffices. 

" 3. The spending at Muna the three nights of the ' Ayyan el 
Tashrik,' or days of drying flesh : of these, the first is the most 

" 4. The Ramy el Jimar, or casting stones at the devil : and — 

" 5. The avoiding all things forbidden to the pilgrim when in a 
state of Ihram. 

" Some writers reduce these requisites by omitting the second 
and third." 

Section I. — Of Ihram. 

" Before doffing his laical garment, the Pilgrim performs a total 
ablution, shaves, and perfumes himself. He then puts on a ' Rida 1 
and an ' Izar,' both new, clean, and of a white color : after which ho 

* The Ifazah is the impetuous descent from Mount Arafat. Ite 
Tawaf is that performed immediately after throwing the stones and 
resuming the laical dress on the victim day at Mount Muna. 

\ Shaving is better for man, cutting for women. A razor must be 
passed over the bald head ; but it is sufficient to burn, pluck, shave, or 
clip three hairs when the chovclure is long. 


performs a two-prostration prayer (the ' Sunnat' of El Ihram), with 
a 80tto voce Niyat, specifying which rite he intends. 

" When Muhrim (i. e. in Ihram), the Moslem is forbidden (unless 
in case of sickness, necessity, over-heat, or unendurable cold, when 
a victim must expiate the transgression), — 

" 1. To cover his head with aught which may be deemed a 
covering, as a cap or turban; but he may carry an umbrella, dive 
under water, stand in the shade, and even place his hands upon his 
head. A woman may wear sewn clothes, white or light blue (not 
black), but her face-veil should be kept at a distance from her face. 

" 2. To wear anything sewn or with seams, as shirt, trowsers, or 
slippers, anything knotted or woven, as chain armor; but the pil- 
grim may use, for instance, a torn-up shirt or trowsers bound round 
his loins or thrown over his shoulders, he may knot his ' Izar,' and 
tie it with a cord, and he may gird his waist. 

" 3. To knot the Kida, or shoulder-cloth. 

" 4. To deviate from absolute chastity, even kissing being for- 
bidden to the Muhrim. Marriage cannot be contracted during the 
pilgrimage season. 

" 5. To use perfumes, oil, curling the locks, or removing the nails 
and hair by paring, cutting, plucking, or burning. The nails may 
be employed to remove pediculi from the hair and clothes, but with 
care, that no pile fall off. 

" 6. To hunt wild animals, or to kill those which "Were such ori- 
ginally. But he may destroy the ' five noxious,' a kite, a crow, a 
rat, a scorpion, and a dog given to biting. He must not cut down 
a tree, or pluck up a self-growing plant; but he is permitted to reap 
and to cut grass. 

" When assuming the pilgrim garb, and before entering Meccah, 
4 Ghusl,' or total ablution, should be performed ; but if water be not 
procurable, the Tayammum, or sand ablution, suffices. The pilgrim 
should enter the Holy City by day and on foot. When his glance 
falls upon the Kaabah he should say, ' Allah, increase this (thy) 
house in degree, and greatness, and honor, and awfulness, and in- 
crease all those who have honored it and glorified it with degree, 
and greatness, and honor, and dignity !' Entering the outer Bab el 
Salam, he must exclaim, ' O Allah, thou art the safety, and from 


thee is the safety!' And then passing into the mosque, he should 
repair to the ' Black Stone,' touch it with his right hand, kiss it, and 
commence his circumainbulation. 

" Now, the victims of El Ihram are five in number, viz : — 

" 1. The ' Victim of Kequisites,' when a pilgrim accidentally or 
willingly omits to perform a requisite, such as the assumption of the 
pilgrim garb at the proper place. This victim is a sheep, or, in lieu 
of it, ten days' fast. 

" 2. The ' Victim of Luxuries' (Turfah), such as shaving the head 
or using perfumes. This is a sheep, or a three days' fast, or alms, 
consisting of threo saa measures of grain, distributed among six 

" 3. The ' Victim of suddenly returning to Laical Life ;' that is 
to say, before the proper time. It is also a sheep, after the sacrifice 
of which the pilgrim shaves his head. 

" 4. The ' Victim of killing game.' If the animal slain be one 
for which the tame equivalent be procurable (a camel for an ostrich, 
a cow for a wild ass or cow, and a goat for a gazelle), the pilgrim 
should sacrifice it, or distribute its value, or purchase with it grain 
for the poor, or fast one day for each ' Mudd' measure. If the equi- 
valent be not procurable, the offender must buy its value of grain for 
alms-deeds, or fast a day for every measure. 

"5. The ' Victim of Incontinence.' This offering is either a male 
or a female camel : these failing, a cow or seven sheep, or the value 
of a camel in grain distributed to the poor, or a day's fast for each 

Section II. — Of Tawaf, or Circumambulation. 

" Of this ceremony there are five Wajibat, or requisites, viz. : — 
Concealing ' the shame,' * as in prayer. Ceremonial purity of body, 
garments, and place. Circumambulation inside the mosque. Seven 
circuits of the house. Commencement of circuit from the Black 
Stone. Circumambulating the house with the left shoulder presented 

* A man's " Aurat" is from the navel to the knee; in the case of a 
free woman the whole of her face and person are "shame." 


to it. Circuiting the house outside its Shazarwan, or marble base- 
ment. And, lastly, the Niyat, or intention of Tawaf, specifying 
whether it be for Hajj or for Umrah. 

" Of the same ceremony the principal Sunnat, or practices, are 
to walk on foot ; to touch, kiss, and place his forehead upon the 
Black Stone, if possible after each circuit to place the hand upon the 
south corner, but not to kiss it ; to pray during each circuit for what 
is best for man (pardon of sins) ; to quote lengthily from the Koran, 
and often to say 'Subhan Allah!' and to mention none but Allah ; 
to walk slowly during the three first circuits, and trotting the last 
four, all the while maintaining an humble and contrite demeanor 
with downcast eyes. 

" After the sevenfold circumambulation the pilgrim should recite 
a two-prostration prayer. If unable to pray there, he may take any 
other part of the mosque. These devotions are performed silently 
by day and aloud by night. And after prayer the pilgrim should 
return to the Black Stone, and kiss it." 

Section III. — Of Sai, or Course between Mounts Safa and 

"After performing Tawaf, the pilgrim should issue from the 
gate ' El Safa' (or another, if necessary), and ascend the steps of 
Mount Safa, about a man's height from the street. There he 
raises the cry Tekbir, and implores pardon for his sins. He then 
descends, and turns towards Mount Marwah at a slow pace. Ar- 
rived within six cubits of the Mil el Akhzar (the 'green pillars,' 
planted in the corner of the temple on the left hand), he runs swiftly 
till he reaches the ' two green pillars,' the left one of which is fixed 
in the corner of the temple, and the other close to the Dar el Abbas. 
Thence he again walks slowly up to Marwah, and ascends it as he 
did Safa. This concludes a single course. The pilgrim then starts 
from Marwah, and walks, runs, and walks again through the same 
limits, till the seventh course is concluded. 

" There are four requisites of Sai. The pilgrim must pass over 
all the space between Safa and Marwah ; he must begin with Safa, 


and end with Marwah ; he must traverse the distance seven times ; 
and he must perform the rite after some important Tawaf, as that 
of arrival, or that of return from Arafat. 

" The practices of Sai are, briefly, to walk, if possible, to be in a 
state of ceremonial purity, to quote lengthily from the Koran, and 
to be abundant in praise of Allah." 

Section IV. — Of WuTcuf or standing upon Mount Arafat, 

"The days of pilgrimage are three in number ; namely, the 8th, 
the 9th, and the 10th of the month Zu'l Hijjah * 

" On the first day (8th), called Yaum el Tarwiyah, the pilgrim 
should start from Meccah after the dawn-prayer and sunrise, per- 
form his noontide, afternoon, and evening devotions at Muna, where 
it is a Sunnat that he should sleep.t 

" On the second day (9th), the ' Yaum Arafat,' after performing 
the early prayer at ' Ghalas ' (i. e. when a man cannot see his neigh- 
bor's face) on Mount Sabir, near Muna, the pilgrim should start 

* The Arab legend is, that the angels asking the Almighty why 
Ibrahim was called El Khalil (or God's friend), they were told that all 
his thoughts were fixed on heaven ; and when they called to mind that 
he had a wife and children, Allah convinced them of the Patriarch's 
sanctity by a trial. One night Ibrahim saw, in a vision, a speaker, who 
said to him, "Allah orders thee to draw near him with a victim !" He 
awoke, and not comprehending the scope of the dream, took especial 
notice of it ; hence the first day of pilgrimage is called Yaum el Tar- 
wiyah. The same speaker visited him on the next night, saying, 
" Sacrifice what is dearest to thee ! ' From the Patriarch's knowing 
what the first vision meant, the second day is called Yaum Arafat. On 
the third night he was ordered to sacrifice Ismail ; hence that day i8 
called Yaum Nahr (of " throat-cutting"). The English reader will bear 
in mind that the Moslem day begins at sunset. 

f The present generation of pilgrims, finding the delay inconvenient, 
always pass on to Arafat without halting, and generally arrive at the 
mountain late in the afternoon of the 8th, that is to say, the first day 
of pilgrimage. Consequently, they pray the morning prayer of the 
9th at Arafat. 



when the sun is risen, proceed to the ' Mountain of Mercy,' encamp 
there, and after performing the noontide and afternoon devotions at 
the Masjid Ibrahim, joining and shortening them,* he should take 
his station upon the mountain, which is all standing ground. But 
the best position is that preferred by the Prophet, near the great 
rocks lying at the lower slope of Arafat. He must be present at 
the sermon,f and be abundant in Talbiyat (supplication), Thalil 
(recitations of the chapter ' Say he is the one God ! ' J), and weep- 
ing, for that is the place for the outpouring of tears. There he 
should stay till sunset, and then decamp and return hastily to 
Muzdalifah, where he should pass a portion of the night. After a 
visit to the mosque ' Mashar el Haram,' he should collect seven peb- 
bles, and proceed to Muna. 

"Yaum el Nahr, the third day of pilgrimage (10th Zu'l Hijjah), 
is the great festival of the Moslem year. Amongst its many names, 
4 Ed el Kurban ' is the best known, as expressive of Abraham's 
sacrifice in lieu of Ismail. Most pilgrims, after casting stones at the 
Akabah, or i Great Devil,' hurry to Meccah. Some enter the 
Kaabah, whilst others content themselves with performing the 
Tawaf el Ifazah, or circumambulation of inipetuosit}', round the 
house. The pilgrim should then return to Muna, sacrifice a sheep, 
and sleep there. Strictly speaking, this day concludes the pilgrimage. 

"The second set of 'trois jours,' namely, the 11th, the 12th, 
and the 13th of Zu'l Hijjah, are called the ' days of drying flesh in 
the sun.'§ The pilgrim should spend that time at Muna, and each 
day throw seven pebbles at each of the three pillars. 

* The Shafei when engaged on a journey which takes up a night 
and day, is allowed to shorten his prayers, and to "join" the noon with 
the afternoon, and the evening with the night devotions ; thus reducing 
the number of times from five to three per diem. 

f If the pilgrim be too late for the sermon, his labor is irretrievably 

X Ibn Abbas relates a tradition, that whoever recites this short chap- 
ter 11,000 times on the Arafat day shall obtain from Allah all he desires. 

§ " The days of drying flesh," because at this period pilgrims pre- 
pare provisions for their return, by cutting up their victims, and 
exposing to the sun large slices slung upon long lines of cord. 


" When throwing the stones, it is desirable that the pilgrim should 
cast them far from himself, although he is allowed to place them 
upon the pillar. The act also should be performed after the Zawal, 
or declension of the sun. If unable to cast the stones during the 
daytime, he is allowed to do it at night. 

" The ' throwing ' over — the pilgrim returns to Meccah, and 
when his journey is fixed, performs the Tawaf el Widaa ( ' of fare- 
well '). On this occasion it is a Sunnat to drink the water of Zem 
Zem, to enter the temple with more than usual respect and reverence, 
and bidding it adieu, to depart from the Holy City. 

" The Moslem is especially forbidden to take with him cakes 
made of the earth or dust of the Haram, and similar mementos, as 
they savor of idolatry." 

Chap. II. — Op Umrah, or the Little Pilgrimage. 

u The word ' Umrah ' denotes a pilgrimage performed at any time 
except the pilgrim season (the 8th, 9th, and 10th of Zu'l Hijjah). 

Chap. III. — Of Ziyarat, or the Visit to the Pro- 
phet's Tomb. 

" El Ziyarat is a practice of the faith, and the most effectual way 
of drawing near to Allah through his Prophet Mohammed. 

" As the Zair arrives at El Medinah, when his eyes fall upon the 
trees of the city, he must bless the Prophet with a loud voice. 
Then he should enter the mosque, and sit in the Holy Garden, which 
is between the pulpit and the tomb, and pray a two-prostration 
prayer in honor of the Masjid. After this he should supplicate 
pardon for his sins. Then, approaching the sepulchre, and standing 
four cubits away from it, recite this prayer : — 

" l Peace be with thee, thou T. H. and T. S.,* peace be with 
thee, and upon thy descendants, and thy companions, one and all, 

* The 20th and 36th chapters of the Koran. 


and upon all the prophets, and those inspired to instruct mankind. 
And I bear witness that thou hast delivered thy message, and per- 
formed thy trust, and advised thy followers, and swept away dark- 
ness, and fought in Allah's path the good fight ; may Allah requite 
thee from us the best with which he ever requited prophet from 
his followers ! ' 

" Let the visitor stand the while before the tomb with respect, 
and reverence, and singleness of mind, and fear, and awe. After 
which, let him retreat one cubit, and salute Abubekr the Truthful 
in these words : — 

" ' Peace be with thee, O Caliph of Allah's Prophet over his 
people, and aider in the defence of his faith ! ' 

" After this, again retreating another cubit, let him bless in the 
same way Umar the Just. After which, returning to his former 
station opposite the Prophet's tomb, he should implore intercession 
for himself and all dearest to him. He should not neglect to visit 
the Bakia Cemetery and the Kuba Mosque, where he should pray 
for himself and his brethren of the Muslimin and the Muslimat, the 
Muminin and the Muminat, * the quick of them and the dead. 
When ready to depart, let the Zair take leave of the mosque with a 
two-prostration prayer, and visit the tomb, and salute it, and again 
beg intercession for himself and for those he loves. And the Zair 
is forbidden to circumambulate the tomb, or to carry away the 
cakes of clay made by the ignorant with the earth and dust of the 

* These second words are the feminines of the first; they prove 
that the Moslem is not above praying for what Europe supposed he did 
not believe in, namely, the souls of women. 



At 10 a. m. on Monday, the 12th Sept. 1853, habited in 
our Ihram, or pilgrim garbs, we mounted the Utter. 

We followed the road by which we entered Meccah. 
It was covered with white-robed pilgrims, some few wend- 
ing their way on foot, others riding, and all men barefooted 
and bareheaded. Most of the wealthier classes mounted 
asses. The scene was, as usual, one of strange contrasts : 
Bedouins bestriding swift dromedaries ; Turkish dignitaries 
on fine horses ; the most picturesque beggars, and the most 
uninteresting looking Nizam. Not a little wrangling mingled 
with the loud bursts of " Talbiyat." Dead animals dotted 
the ground, and carcases had been cast into a dry tank, the 
" Birkat el Shami," which caused every Bedouin to hold 
his nose, and show disgust.* Here, on the right of the 
road, the poorer pilgrims, who could not find houses, had 
erected huts, and pitched their ragged tents. At 11 a. m. 
ascending a Mudaraj, or flight of stone steps, about thirty 

* The true Bedouin, when in the tainted atmosphere of towns, is 
always known by bits of cotton in his nostrils, or his kerchief tightly 
drawn over his nose, and a heavy frown marking extreme disgust. 


yards broad, we passed without difficulty, for we were in 
advance of the caravans, over the Akabah, or steeps, and 
the narrow hill-girt entrance, to the low gravel basin in 
which Muna lies. 

Muna, more classically called Mina, is a place of consi- 
derable sanctity. Its three standing miracles are these : — 
The pebbles thrown at "the devil" return by angelic 
agency to whence they came ; during the three days of dry- 
ing meat rapacious beasts and birds cannot prey there ; and 
flies do not settle upon the articles of food exposed so abun- 
dantly in the bazaars.* During pilgrimage houses are let 
for an exorbitant sum, and it becomes a "world's fair" of 
Moslem merchants. At all other seasons it is almost de- 
serted, in consequence, says popular superstition, of the 
Rajm or diabolical lapidation.* Distant about three miles 
from Meccah, it is a long, narrow, straggling village, com- 
posed of mud and stone houses of one or stories, built in 
the common Arab style. Traversing a narrow street, we 
passed on the left the Great Devil, which shall be described 
at a future time. After a quarter of an hour's halt, spent 
over pipes and coffee, we came to an open space, where 
stands the mosque " El Khayf." Here, according to some 
Arabs, Adam lies, his head being at one end of the long 
wall, and his feet at another, whilst the dome covers his 
omphalic region. Grand preparations for fireworks were 
being made in this square ; I especially marked a fire-ship, 
which savored strongly of Stamboul. 

* According to Mohammed the pebbles of the accepted are re- 
moved by angels ; as, however, each man and woman has to throw 49 
or 70 stones, it is fair to suspect the intervention of something more ma- 
terial. Animals are frightened away by the bustling crowd, and flies 
are found in myriads. 

\ This demoniacal practice is still as firmly believed in Arabia as it 
formerly was in Europe. 


At noon we reached the mosque Muzdalifah, also called 
Mashar el Haram, the " Place dedicated to Religious Cere- 
monies." It is known in El Islam as " the minaret without 
the mosque," opposed to Masjid Nimrah, which is the " mos- 
que without the minaret." Half way between Muna and 
Arafat — about three miles from both — there is something 
peculiarly striking in the distant appearance of the tall, soli- 
tary tower, rising abruptly from the desolate valley of gra- 
vel, flanked with buttresses of yellow rock. No wonder that 
the ancient Arabs loved to give the high-sounding name of 
this oratory to distant places in their giant empire. 

Here, as we halted to perform the mid-day prayer, we 
were overtaken by the Damascus caravan. It was a grand 
spectacle. The Mahmal, no longer naked, as upon the line 
of march, flashed in the sun all green and gold. Around the 
moving host of white-robed pilgrims hovered a crowd of 
Bedouins, male and female, all mounted on swift drome- 
daries, and many of them armed to the teeth. As their 
drapery floated in the wind, and their faces were veiled 
with the " lisam," it was frequently difficult to distinguish 
the sex of the wild being flogging its animal to speed, as 
they passed. These people, as has been said, often resort 
to Arafat for blood-revenge, in hopes of finding the victim 
unprepared. Nothing can be more sinful in El Islam than 
such a deed, — it is murder "made sicker" by sacrilege; 
yet the prevalence of the practice proves how feeble is the 
religion's hold upon the race. The women are as unscrupu- 
lous : I remarked many of them emulating the men in reck- 
less riding, and striking with their sticks every animal in 
the way. 

Travelling eastwards up the Arafat fiumara, after about 
half an hour we came to a narrow pass called El Akhsha- 
bayn, or the " two rugged hills." Here the spurs of the 
hill limit the road to about 100 paces, and it is generally a 


scene of great confusion. After this we arrived at El 
Bazan (the Basin), a widening of the plain ; and another 
half hour brought us to the Alainain (the " Twin Signs"), 
two whitewashed pillars, or rather thin, narrow walls, sur- 
mounted with pinnacles, which denote the precincts of the 
Arafat plain. Here, in full sight of the Holy Hill, standing 
quietly out from the fair blue sky, the host of pilgrims 
broke into loud Labbayks. 

Arafat is about a six hours' march, or twelve miles, 
on the Taif road, due east of Meccah. We arrived there 
in a shorter time, but our weary camels, during the last 
third of the way, frequently threw themselves upon the 
ground. Human beings suffered more. Between Muna 
and Arafat I saw no less than five men fall down and die 
upon the highway; exhausted and moribund, they had 
dragged themselves out to give up the ghost where it 
departs to instant beatitude.* The spectacle showed how 
easy it is to die in these latitudes;! each man suddenly 
staggered, fell as if shot, and after a brief convulsion, lay 
still as marble. The corpses were carefully taken up, and 
carelessly buried that same evening, in a vacant space 
amongst the crowds encamped upon the Arafat plain.J 

The boy Mohammed who had long chafed at my per- 
tinacious claim to dervishhood, resolved on this occasion to 
be grand. To swell the party, he had invited Umar Effendi, 
whom we accidentally met in the streets of Meccah, to join 

* Those who die on a pilgrimage become martyrs. 

f I cannot help believing that some unknown cause renders death 
easier to man in hot than in cold climates ; certain it is that in 
Europe rare are the quiet and painless deathbeds so common in the 

\ "We bury our dead, to preserve them as it were ; the Moslem tries 
to secure rapid decomposition, and makes the grave-yard a dangerous 
as well as a disagreeable place. 


us ; but failing therein, he brought with him two cousins, 
fat youths of sixteen and seventeen, and his mother's 
ground-floor servants. These were four Indians; an old 
man; his wife, a middle-aged woman of most ordinary- 
appearance; their son, a sharp boy, who spoke excellent 
Arabic; and a family friend, a stout fellow about thirty 
years old. They were Panjabis, and the bachelor's history 
was instructive. He was gaining an honest livelihood in his 
own country, when suddenly one night Hazrat All, dressed 
in green, and mounted upon his charger Duldul — at least, so 
said the narrator — appeared, crying in a terrible voice, 
" How long wilt thou toil for this world, and be idle about 
the life to come?" From that moment, like an English 
murderer, he knew no peace, conscience and Hazrat Ali 
haunted him. Finding life unendurable at home, he sold 
everything, raised the sum of 207., and started for the Holy 
Land. He reached Jeddah with a few rupees in his pocket, 
and came to Meccah, where, everything being exorbitantly 
dear, and charity all but unknown, he might have starved, 
had he not been received by his old friend. The married 
pair and their son had been taken as house-servants by the 
boy Mohammed's mother, who generously allowed them 
shelter and a pound of rice per diem to each, but not a far- 
thing of pay. They were even expected to provide their 
own turmeric and onions. Yet these poor people were 
anxiously awaiting the opportunity to visit El Medinah, 
without which their pilgrimage would not, they believed, 
be complete. They would beg their way through the ter- 
rible desert and its Bedouins — an old man, a boy, and a 
woman ! What were their chances of returning to their 
homes ? Such, I believe, is too often the history of those 
wretches whom a fit of religious enthusiasm, likest to insa- 
nity, hurries away to the Holy Land. 

With the Indians' assistance the boy Mohammed re- 



moved the handsome Persian rugs with which he had 
covered the shugduf, pitched the tent, carpeted the 
ground, disposed a diwan of silk and satin cushions round 
the interior, and strewed the centre with new chibouques 
and highly polished shishas. At the doorway was placed a 
Mankal, a large copper fire-pan, with coffee-pots singing a 
welcome to visitors. In front of us were the litters, and 
by divers similar arrangements our establishment was made 
to look grand. The youth also insisted upon my removing 
the Rida, or upper cotton cloth, which had become way- 
soiled, and he supplied its place by a fine cashmere, left 
with him, some years before, by a son of the king of Delhi. 
Little thought I that this bravery of attire would lose me 
every word of the Arafat sermon next day. 

Arafat is a mass of coarse granite split into large blocks 
with a thin coat of withered thorns, about one mile in cir- 
cumference and rising abruptly from the low gravelly plain 
— a dwarf wall at the southern base forming the line of de- 
marcation — to the height of 180 or 200 feet. Nothing can 
be more picturesque than the view it affords of the blue 
peaks behind, and the vast encampment scattered over the 
barren yellow plain below. On the north lay the regularly 
pitched camp of the guards that defend the unarmed pil- 
grims. To the eastward was the Sherif 's encampment with 
the bright mahmals and the gilt knobs of the grander 
pavilions; whilst, on the southern and western sides, the 
tents of the vulgar crowded the ground, disposed in dowars, 
or circles, for penning cattle. After many calculations, I 
estimated the number to be not less than 50,000, of all ao-es 
and sexes ; a sad falling off, it is true, but still considera- 

* Ali Bey (a.d. 1807) calculates 83,000 pilgrims; Burckhardt(1814), 
V 0,000. I reduce it, in 1853, to 50,000, and in a.d. 1854, owing to 


The Holy Hill owes its name* and honors to a well- 
known legend. When our first parents forfeited heaven 
by eating wheat, which deprived them of their primeval 
purity, they were cast down upon earth. The serpent 
descended at Ispahan, the peacock at Cabul, Satan at Bil- 
bays (others say Semnan and Seistan), Eve upon Arafat, 
and Adam at Ceylon. The latter, determining to seek his 
wife, began a journey, to which earth owes its present mot- 
tled appearance. Wherever our first father placed his foot 
— which was large — a town afterwards arose ; between the 
strides will always be " country." Wandering for many 
years, he came to the Mountain of Mercy, where our com- 
mon mother was continually calling upon his name, and 
their recognition gave the place the name of Arafat. Upon 
its summit Adam, instructed by the archangel, erected a 
" Madaa," or place of prayer ; and between this spot and 
the Nimrah mosque the pair abode till death. 

From the Holy Hill I walked down to look at the camp 
arrangements. The main street of tents and booths, huts 
and shops, was bright with lanterns, and the bazaars were 
crowded with people and stocked with all manner of east- 
ern delicacies. Some anomalous spectacles met the eye. 
Many pilgrims, especially the soldiers, were in laical cos- 
political causes, it fell to about 25,000. Of these at least 10,000 are 
Meccans, as every one who can leave the city does so at pilgrimage- 
time. The Arabs have a superstition that the numbers at Arafat can- 
not be counted, and that if less than 600.000 mortals stand upon the 
hill to hear the sermon, the angels descend and complete the number. 
Even this year my Arab friends declared that 150,000 spirits were 
present in human shape. 

* The word is explained in many ways. One derivation has already 
been mentioned. Others assert that when Gabriel taught Abraham the 
ceremonies, he ended by saying "A'arafta manasik'ak?" — hast thou 
learned thy pilgrim rites? To which the Friend of Allah replied, 
" Araftu /"—I have learned them. 


tume. In one place a half-drunken Arnaut stalked down 
the road, elbowing peaceful j^assengers and frowning fiercely 
in hopes of a quarrel. In another, a huge dimly lit tent, 
reeking hot, and garnished with cane-seats, contained knots 
of Egyptians, as their red tarbushes, white turbans, and 
black zaabuts showed, noisily intoxicating themselves with 
forbidden hemp. There were frequent brawls and great 
confusion; many men had lost their parties, and, mixed 
with loud Labbayks, rose the shouted names of women as 
well as men. I was surprised at the disproportion of female 
nomenclature, — the missing number of fair ones seemed to 
double that of the other sex, — and at a practice so opposed 
to the customs of the Moslem world. At length the boy 
Mohammed enlightened me. Egyptian and other bold 
women, when unable to join the pilgrimage, will pay or 
persuade a friend to shout their names in hearing of the 
Holy Hill, with a view of ensuring a real presence at the 
desired spot next year. So the welkin rang with the inde- 
cent sounds of O Fatimah ! O Zaynab ! O Khayzaran !* 
Plunderers, too, were abroad. As we returned to the tent 
we found a crowd assembled near it ; a woman had seized 
a thief as he was beginning operations, and had the courage 
to hold his beard till men ran to her assistauce. And we 
were obliged to defend by force our position against a knot 
of grave-diggers, who would bury a little heap of bodies 
within a yard or two of our tent. 

One point struck me at once, the difference in point of 
cleanliness between an encampment of citizens and Be- 

* The latter name, " Ratan," is servile. Respectable women are 
never publicly addressed by Moslems except as " daughter," " female 
pilgrim," after some male relation, " mother of Mohammed," " O 
sister of Umar," or, tout bonnement, by a man's name. It would be 
ill-omened and dangerous were the true name known. So most women, 
when travelling, adopt an alias. 


douins. Poor Masud sat holding his nose in ineffable dis- 
gust ; for which he was derided by the Meccans. I con- 
soled him with quoting the celebrated song of Maysunah.* 

" take these purple robes away, 

Give back my cloak of camel's hair, 
And bear me from this tow'ring pile 

To where the Black Tents flap i' the air. 
The camel's colt with falt'ring tread, 

The dog that bays at all but me, 
Delight me more than ambling mules — 

Than every art of minstrelsy. 
And any cousin, poor but free, 

Might take me, fatted ass ! from thee."f 

The old man, delighted, clapped my shoulder, and ex- 
claimed, " Verily, O Father of Mustachios, I will show thee 
the black tents of my tribe this year ! " 

At length night came, and we threw ourselves upon our 

* The beautiful Bedouin wife of the Caliph Muawiyah. Nothing 
can be more charming in its own Arabic than this little song : the 
Bedouins never heard it without screams of joy. 

\ The British reader will be shocked to hear that by the term 
" fatted ass" the intellectual lady alluded to her husband. . The story 
is, that Muawiyah, overhearing the song, sent back the singer to her 
cousins and beloved wilds. Maysunah departed, with her son Yezid, 
and did not return to Damascus till the " fatted ass" had joined his 

Yezid inherited, with his mother's talents, all her contempt for his 
father ; at least the following quatrain, addressed to Muawiyah, and 
generally known in El Islam, would appear to argue anything but 
reverence : — 

" I drank the water of the vine — that draught had power to rouse 
Thy wrath, grim father ! now, indeed, 'tis joyous to carouse ! 
I'll drink ! — Be wrath ! — I reck not ! — Ah ! dear to this heart of 
It is to scoff a sire's command — to quaff forbidden wine." 


rugs, but not to sleep. Close by, to our bane, was a prayer- 
ful old gentleman, who began his devotions at a late hour 
and concluded them not before dawn. He reminded me 
of the undergraduate my neighbor at college, who would 
spout ^schylus at 2 a.m. Sometimes the chaunt would 
grow drowsy, and my ears would hear a dull retreating 
sound ; presently, as if in self-reproach, it would rise to a 
sharp treble, and proceed at a rate perfectly appalling. The 
coffee-houses, too, were by no means silent ; deep into the 
night I heard the clapping of hands accompanying merry 
Arab songs, and the loud shouts of laughter Of the Egyp- 
tian hemp-drinkers. And the guards and protectors of the 
camp were not " Charleys ". or night-nurses. 



The morning of the 13th Sept. was ushered in by military 
sounds ; a loud discharge of cannon warned us to arise and 
to prepare for the ceremonies of this eventful day. 

After ablution and prayer, I proceeded with the boy 
Mohammed to inspect the numerous consecrated sites on 
the " Mountain of Mercy." In the first place, we repaired 
to a spot on rising ground to the south-east, and within a 
hundred yards of the hill. It is called " Jami el Sakhrah " 
— the assembling place of the rock — from two granite boul- 
ders upon which the Prophet stood to perform " Talbiyat." 
There is nothing but a small enclosure of dwarf and white- 
washed stone walls, divided into halves by a similar partition, 
aud provided with a niche to direct prayer towards Meccah. 
Entering by steps we found crowds of devotees and guardi- 
ans, who for a consideration offered mats and praying 
carpets. After two prostrations and a long supplication 
opposite the niche, we retired to the inner compartment, 
stood upon a boulder and shouted the Labbayk. 

Thence, threading our way through many obstacles of 
tents and stone, we ascended the broad flight of rugged 


steps which winds up the southern face of the rocky hill. 
Even at this early hour it is crowded with pilgrims, princi- 
pally Bedouins and Wahhabis, who had secured favorable 
positions for hearing the sermon. Already their green flag 
was planted upon the summit close to Adam's place of 
prayer. About half-way up I counted sixty-six steps, and 
remarked that they became narrower and steeper. Crowds 
of beggars instantly seized the pilgrims' robes and strove to 
prevent our entering a second enclosure. This place, which 
resembles the former, except that it has but one compart- 
ment and no boulders, is that whence Mohammed used to 
address his followers, and here, to the present day, the 
Khatib, or preacher, in imitation of the " Last of Prophets," 
sitting upon a dromedary, recites the Arafat sermon. 
Here, also, we prayed a two-prostration prayer, and gave 
a small sum to the guardian. 

Thence ascending with increased difficulty to the hill-top, 
we arrived at a large stuccoed platform, with prayer-niche 
and a kind of obelisk, mean and badly built of lime and gra- 
nite stone, whitewashed, and conspicuous from afar. It is 
called the Makam, or Madaa Sayyidna Adam. Here we 
performed the customary ceremonies amongst a crowd of 
pilgrims, and then descended the little hill. Close to the 
plain we saw the place where the Egyptian and Damascus 
Mahmals stand during the sermon ; and descending the wall 
that surrounds Arafat by a steep and narrow flight of coarse 
stone steps, on my right was the fountain which supplies the 
place with water. 

Our excursion employed us longer than the description 
requires, — nine o'clock had struck before we reached the 
plain. All were in a state of excitement. Guns fired furi- 
ously. Horsemen and camel-riders galloped about without 
apparent object. Even the women and the children stood 
and walked, too restless even to sleep. Arrived at the tent, 


I was unpleasantly surprised to find a new visitor in an old 
acquaintance, Ali ibn Ya Sin the Zem Zemi. He had lost 
his mule, and, wandering in search of its keeper, he unfor- 
tunately fell in with our party. I had solid reasons to regret 
the mishap — he was far too curious and observant to suit my 
tastes. On the present occasion he, being uncomfortable, 
made us equally so. Accustomed to all the terrible " neat- 
ness" of an elderly damsel in Great Britain, a few specks of 
dirt upon the rugs, and half-a-dozen bits of cinder upon the 
ground, sufficed to give him attacks of " nerves." 

That day we breakfasted late, for night must come before 
we could eat again. After midday prayer we performed 
ablutions, some the greater, others the less, in preparation 
for the " wukuf," or standing. From noon onwards the hum 
and murmur of the multitude increased, and people were 
seen swarming about in all directions. 

A second discharge of cannon (about p. m. 3 15) an- 
nounced the approach of El Asr, the afternoon prayer, and 
almost immediately we heard the Naubat, or band, preceding 
the Sherif's procession as he wended his way towards the 
mountain. Fortunately my tent was pitched close to the 
road, so that without trouble I had a perfect view of the 
scene. First came a cloud of mace-bearers, who, as usual 
on such occasions, cleared the path with scant ceremony. 
They were followed by the horsemen of the desert, wielding 
long and tufted spears. Immediately behind them came the 
led horses of the Sherif, upon which I fixed a curious eye. 
All were highly bred, and one, a brown Nejdi with black 
points, struck me as the perfection of an Arab. They were 
small, and apparently of the northern race.* Of their old 

* In Solomon's time the Egyptian horse cost 150 silver shekels, 
which, if the greater shekel be meant, would still be about the average 
price, 181. Abbas, the late Pacha, did his best to buy first-rate Arab 
stallions: on one occasion he sent a mission to El Medinah for the sole 


crimson-velvet caparisons the less said the better ; no little 
Indian Nawab would show aught so shabby on state occa- 
sions. After the chargers came a band of black slaves on 
foot, bearing huge matchlocks ; and immediately preceded 
by three green and two red flags, was the Sherif, riding in 
front of his family and courtiers. The prince, habited in a 
simple white Ihram, and bareheaded, mounted a mule ; the 
only sign of his rank was a large green and gold-embroi- 
dered umbrella, held over him by a slave. The rear was 
brought up by another troop of Bedouins on horses and 
camels. Behind this procession were the tents, whose doors 
and walls were scarcely visible for the crowd ; and the pic- 
turesque background was the granite hill covered wherever 
standing-room was to be found with white-robed pilgrims 
shouting Labbayks and waving the skirts of their glistening 
garments violently over their heads. 

Slowly the procession advanced towards the hill. Ex- 
actly at the hour El Asr the two Mahmals had taken their 

purpose of fetching a rare work on farriery. Yet it is doubted whether 
he ever had a first-rate Nejdi. A Bedouin sent to Cairo by one of the 
chiefs of Nejd, being shown by the viceroy's order over the stables, on 
being asked his opinion of the blood, replied bluntly, to the great man's 
disgust, that they did not contain a single thoroughbred. He added an 
apology on the part of his laird for the animals he had brought from 
Arabia, saying, that neither Sultan nor shaykh could procure colts of the 
best strain. 

For none of these horses would a staunch admirer of the long-legged 
monster called in England a thorough-bred give twenty pounds. They 
are mere " rats," short and stunted, ragged and fleshless, with rough 
coats and a slouching walk. But the experienced glance notes at once 
the fine snake-like head, ears like reeds, wide and projecting nostrils, 
large eyes, fiery and soft alternately, broad brow, deep base of skull, 
wide chest, crooked tail, limbs padded with muscle, and long elastic 
pasterns. And the animal put out to speed soon displays the wondrous 
force of blood. In fact, when buying Arabs, there are only three things 
to be considered — blood, blood, and again blood. 


station side by side on a platform in the lower slope. That 
of Damascus could be distinguished as the narrower and the 
more ornamented of the pair. The Sherif placed himself 
with his standard-bearers and retinue a little above the 
Mahmals, within hearing of the preacher. The pilgrims 
crowded up to the foot of the mountain ; the loud Labbayks 
of the Bedouins and Wahhabis fell to a solemn silence, and 
the waving of white robes ceased — a sign that the preacher 
had begun the Khutbat el Wakfah. From my tent I could 
distinguish the form of the old man upon his camel, but the 
distance was too great for ear to reach. 

But how came I to be at the tent ? 

A short confession will explain. They will shrive me 
who believe in inspired Spenser's lines : — 

" And every spirit, as it is more pure, 

And hath in it the more of heavenly light, 
So it the fairer body doth procure 
To habit in." 

The evil came of a " fairer body." I had prepared en 
cachette a slip of paper, and had hid in my Ihram a pencil 
destined to put down the heads of this rarely heard dis- 
course. But unhappily that red cashmere shawl was upon 
my shoulders. Close to us sat a party of fair Meccans, 
apparently belonging to the higher classes, and one of these 
I had already several times remarked. She was a tall girl, 
about eighteen years old, with regular features, a skin 
somewhat citrine-colored, but soft and clear, symmetrical 
eyebrows, the most beautiful eyes, and a figure all grace. 
There was no head thrown back, no straightened neck, no 
flat shoulders, nor toes turned out — in fact, no elegant bar- 
barisms ; but the shape was what the Arabs love, — soft, 
bending, and relaxed, as a woman's figure ought to be. 
Unhappily she wore, instead of the usual veil, a " Yash- 


mak" of transparent muslin, bound round the face; and 
the chaperone, mother, or duenna, by whose side she stood, 
was apparently a very unsuspicious or compliant old per- 
son. Flirtilla fixed a glance of admiration upon my cash- 
mere. I directed a reply with interest at her eyes. She 
then, by the usual coquettish gesture, threw back an inch 
or two of head-veil, disclosing broad bands of jetty hair, 
crowning a lovely oval. My palpable admiration of the 
new charm was rewarded by a partial removal of the Yash- 
mak ; when a dimpled mouth and a rounded chin stood 
out from the envious muslin. Seeing that my companions 
were safely employed, I ventured upon the dangerous 
ground of raising hand to forehead. She smiled almost 
imperceptibly, and turned away. The pilgrim was in 

The sermon was then half over. I resolved to stay 
upon the plain and see what Flirtilla would do. Grace to 
the cashmere, we came to a good understanding. The 
next page will record my disappointment: — that evening 
the pilgrim resumed his soiled cotton cloth, and testily 
returned the red shawl to the boy Mohammed. 

The sermon always lasts till near sunset, or about three 
hours. At first it was spoken amid profound silence. Then 
loud, scattered " Amins" (Amen) and volleys of Labbayks 
exploded at uncertain intervals. At last the breeze brought 
to our ears a purgatorial chorus of cries, sobs, and shrieks. 
Even my party thought proper to be affected : old Ali 
rubbed his eyes, which in no case unconnected with dollars 
could by any amount of straining be made to shed even a 
crocodile's tear ; and the boy Mohammed wisely his hid face 
in the skirt of his Rida. Presently the people, exhausted 
by emotion, began to descend the hill in small parties ; and 
those below struck their tents and commenced loading 
their camels, although at least an hour's sermon remained. 


On this occasion, however, all hurry to be foremost, as the 
race from Arafat is enjoyed by none but the Bedouins. 

Although we worked with a will, our animals were not 
ready to move before sunset, when the preacher gave the 
signal of " israf," or permission to depart. The pilgrims, 

" swaying to and fro, 

Like waves of a great sea, that in mid shock 
Confound each other, white with foam and fear," 

rushed down the hill with a Labbayk, sounding like a blast, 
and took the road to Muna. Then I saw the scene which 
has given to this part of the ceremonies the name of El 
Dafa min Arafat, — the " Hurry from Arafat." Every man 
urged his beast with might and main : it was sunset ; the 
plain bristled with tent-pegs, litters were crushed, pedes- 
trians trampled, and camels overthrown : single combats 
with sticks and other weapons took place ; — here a woman, 
there a child, and there an animal were lost; briefly, it 
was a state of chaotic confusion. 

To my disgust, old Ali insisted upon bestowing his 
company upon me. He gave over his newly found mule to 
the boy Mohammed, bidding him take care of the beast, 
and mounted with me in the shugduf. I had persuaded 
Shaykh Masud, with a dollar, to keep close in the rear of 
the pretty Meccan ; and I wanted to sketch the Holy Hill. 
The Senior began to give orders about the camel — I, coun- 
ter orders. The camel was halted. I urged it on, old Ali 
directed it to be stopped. Meanwhile the charming face 
that smiled at me from the litter grew dimmer and dim- 
mer; the more I stormed, the less I was listened to — a 
string of camels crossed our path — I lost sight of the beauty. 
Then we began to advance. Now my determination to 
sketch seemed likely to fail before the Zem Zemi's little 
snake's eye. After a few minutes' angry search for expe 


dients, one suggested itself. " Effendi !" said old Ali, " sit 
quiet ; there is danger here." I tossed about like one suffer- 
ing from evil conscience or the colic. " Effendi !" shrieked 
the Senior, " what are you doing ? You will be the death 
of us." " Wallah !" I replied, with a violent plunge, " it is 
all your fault ! There ! (another plunge) — put your beard 
out of the other opening, and Allah will make it easy to 
us." In the ecstasy of fear my tormentor turned his face, 
as he was bidden, towards the camel's head. A second 
halt ensued, when I looked out of the aperture in rear, and 
made a rough drawing of the Mountain of Mercy. 

At the Akhshabayn, double lines of camels, bristling 
with litters, clashed, and gave a shock more noisy than the 
meeting of torrents. It was already dark : no man knew 
what he was doing. The guns roared their brazen notes, 
re-echoed far and wide by the voices of the stony hills. A 
shower of rockets bursting in the air threw into still greater 
confusion the timorous mob of women and children. At 
the same time martial music rose from the masses of Nizam, 
and the stouter-hearted pilgrims were not sparing of their 
Labbayks, and " Eed kum Mubarak" — may your festival 
be happy ! 

After the pass of the two rugged hills, the road widened, 
and old Ali, who, during the bumping, had been in a silent 
convulsion of terror, recovered speech and spirits. This 
change he evidenced by beginning to be troublesome once 
more. Again I resolved to be his equal. Exclaiming, 
" My eyes are yellow with hunger !" I seized a pot full of 
savory meat which the old man had previously stored for 
supper, and, without further preamble, began to eat it 
greedily, at the same time ready to shout with laughter at 
the mumbling and grumbling sounds that proceeded from 
the darkness of the litter. We were at least three hours on 
the road before reaching Muzdalifah, and, being fatigued, we 


resolved to pass the night there. The Mosque was brilliantly 
illuminated, but my hungry companions apparently thought 
more of supper and sleep than devotion. Whilst the tent 
was raised, the Indians prepared our food, boiled our coffee, 
filled pipes, and spread the rugs. Before sleeping, each 
man collected for himself seven bits of granite, the size of a 
small bean. Then, weary with emotion and exertion, all 
lay down except the boy Mohammed, who preceded us to 
find encamping ground at Mima. Old Ali, in lending his 
mule, made the most stringent arrangements with the 
youth about the exact place and the exact hour of meet- 
ing — an act of simplicity at which I could not but smile. 
The night was by no means peaceful or silent. Lines of 
camels passed us every ten minutes, and the shouting of 
travellers continued till near dawn. Pilgrims ought to 
have nighted at the Mosque, but, as in Burckhardt's time, 
so in mine, baggage was considered to be in danger here- 
abouts, and consequently most of the devotees spent the 
sermon hours in brooding over their boxes. 



At dawn, on Wednesday, 14th Sept., a gun warned us to 
lose no time ; we arose hurriedly and started up the Batn 
Muhassir to Muna. By this means we lost at Muzdalifah 
the "Salat el Eed," or "Festival Prayers," the great 
solemnity of the Moslem year, performed by all the com- 
munity at day-break. My companion was so anxious to 
reach Meccah, that he would not hear of devotions. About 
8 a. m. we entered the village, and looked for the boy Mo- 
hammed in vain. Old Ali was dreadfully perplexed : a host 
of high-born Turkish pilgrims were, he said, expecting him ; 
his mule was missing, — could never appear, — he must be late, 
— should probably never reach Meccah, — what would be- 
come of him ? I began by administering admonition to the 
mind diseased ; but signally failing in a cure, amused myself 
with contemplating the world from my shugduf, leaving the 
office of directing it to old Ali. Now he stopped, then he 
pressed forward ; here he thought he saw Mohammed, there 
he discovered our tent ; at one time he would " nakh" the 
camel to await, in patience, his supreme hour ; at another, 
half mad with nervousness, he would urge the excellent 


Masud to hopeless inquiries. Finally, by good fortune, we 
found one of the boy Mohammed's cousins, who led us to 
an enclosure called Hosh el Uzem, in the southern portion 
of the Muna Basin, at the base of Mount Sabir.* There 
we pitched the tent, refreshed ourselves, and awaited the 
truant's return. Old Ali, failing to disturb my equanimity, 
attempted, as those who consort with philosophers often 
will do, to quarrel with me. But, finding no material 
wherewith to build a dispute in such fragments as " Ah !" — 
"Hem!" — "Wallah!" he hinted desperate intentions against 
the boy Mohammed. When, however, the youth appeared, 
with even more jauntiness of mien than usual, Ali bin Ya 
Sin lost heart, brushed by him, mounted his mule, and, 
doubtless cursing us "under his tongue," rode away, frown- 
ing viciously, with his heels playing upon the beast's sides. 

Mohammed had been delayed, he said, by the difficulty 
of finding asses. We were now to mount for " the throw- 
ing,"! — as a preliminary to which, we washed " with seven 
waters" the seven pebbles brought from Muzdalifah, and 
bound them in our Ihrams. Our first destination was the 
entrance to the western end of the long line which com- 
poses the Muna village. We found a swarming crowd in the 
narrow road opposite the " Jamrat el Akabah,"J or, as it is 
vulgarly called, the Shaytan el Kabir — the " Great Devil." 
These names distinguish it from another pillar, the " Wusta," 
or "central place" (of , stoning), built in the middle of 
Muna, and a third at the eastern end, "El Ula," or the 
" first place."§ 

* Even pitching ground here is charged to pilgrims, 
f Some authorities advise that this rite of " Ramy" be performed 
on foot. 

\ The word " Jamrat" is applied to the place of stoning, as well as 
to the stones. 

<§ These numbers mark the successive spots where the Devil; in the 


The " Shaytan el Kabir" is a dwarf buttress of rude 
masonry, about eight feet high by two and a half broad, 
placed against a rough wall of stones, at the Meccan 
entrance to Muna. As the ceremony of "Ramy," or 
Lapidation, must be performed on the first day by all the 
pilgrims between sunrise and sunset, and as the fiend was 
malicious enough to appear in a rugged pass, the crowd 
makes the place dangerous. On one side of the road, 
which is not forty feet broad, stood a row of shops belong- 
ing principally to barbers. On the other side is the rugged 
wall of the pillar, with a chevaux de frise of Bedouins and 
naked boys. The narrow space was crowded with pilgrims, 
all struggling like drowning men to approach as near as 
possible to the Devil ; — it would have been easy to run over 
the heads of the mass. Amongst them were horsemen 
with rearing chargers. Bedouins on wild camels, and 
grandees on mules and asses, with outrunners, were break- 
ing a way by assault and battery. I had read Ali Bey's 
self-felicitations upon escaping this place with "only two 
wounds in the left leg," and had duly provided myself with 
a hidden dagger. The precaution was not useless. Scarcely 
had my donkey entered the crowd than he was overthrown 
by a dromedary, and I found myself under the stamping 
and roaring beast's stomach. By a judicious use of the knife, 
I avoided being trampled upon, and lost no time in escaping 
from a place so ignobly dangerous. Some Moslem travel- 
lers assert, in proof of the sanctity of the spot, that no 
Moslem is ever killed here : I was assured by Meccans that 
accidents are by no means rare. 

Presently the boy Mohammed fought his way out of the 

Bhape of an old Shaykh, appeared to Adam, Abraham, and Ishmael, and 
was driven back by the simple process taught by Gabriel, of throwing 
stones about the size of a bean. • 


crowd with a bleeding nose. We both sat down upon a 
bench before a barber's booth, and, schooled by adversity, 
awaited with patience an opportunity. Finding an opening, 
we approached within about five cubits of the place, and 
holding each stone between the thumb and the forefinger* 
of the right hand, cast it at the pillar, exclaiming, " In the 
name of Allah, and Allah is Almighty ! (I do this) in hatred 
of the fiend and to his shame." After which came the 
Tahlil and the "Sana," or praise to Allah. The seven 
stones being duly thrown, we retired, and entering the 
barber's booth, took our places upon one of the earthen 
benches around it. This was the time to remove the Ihram 
or pilgrim's garb, and to return to Ihlal, the normal state 
of El Islam. The barber shaved our heads,f and, after 
trimming our beards and cutting our nails, made us repeat 
these words : " I purpose loosening my Ihram according to 
the practice of the Prophet, whom may Allah bless and 
preserve ! O Allah, make unto me in every hair, a light, a 
purity, and a generous reward! In the name of Allah, and 
Allah is Almighty!" At the conclusion of his labor the 
barber politely addressed to us a " Naiman" — Pleasure to 
you ! To which we as ceremoniously replied, " Allah give 
thee pleasure !" We had no clothes with us, but we could 
use our cloths to cover our heads and defend our feet from 

* Some hold the pebble as a schoolboy does a marble, others between 
the thumb and forefinger extended, others shoot them from the thumb 
knuckle, and most men consult their own convenience. 

f The barber removed all my hair. Hanifis shave at least a quarter 
of the head, Shafeis a few hairs on the right side. The prayer is, as 
usual, differently worded, some saying, "O Allah, this my forelock is in 
thy hand, then grant me for every hair a light on Resurrection-day, by 
thy mercy, O most Merciful of the Merciful !" I remarked that the hair 
was allowed to lie upon the ground, whereas strict Moslems, with that 
reverence for man's body — the Temple of the Supreme — which charac- 
terises their creed, carefully bury it in the earth. 


the fiery sun ; and we now could safely twirl our mustachios 
and stroke our beards, — placid enjoyments of which we had 
been deprived by the laws of pilgrimage. After resting 
about an hour in the booth, which, though crowded with 
sitting customers, was delightfully cool compared with the 
burning glare of the road, we mounted our asses, and at 
eleven a. m. started Meccah- wards. 

This return from Muna to Meccah is called El Nafr, or 
the Flight : we did not fail to keep our asses at speed, with 
a few halts to refresh ourselves with gugglets of water. 
There was nothing remarkable in the scene: our ride in 
was a repetition of our ride out. In about half an hour we 
entered the city, and repaired to the boy Mohammed's 
house for the purpose of bathing and preparing to enter 
the Kaabah. 

Shortly after our arrival, the youth returned home in a 
state of excitement, exclaiming, "Rise, Effendi! bathe, 
dress, and follow me !" The Kaabah, though open, would 
for a time be empty, so that we should escape the crowd. 
My pilgrim's garb, which had not been removed, was made 
to look neat and somewhat Indian, and we sallied forth 
together without loss of time. 

A crowd had gathered round the Kaabah, and I had no 
wish to stand bareheaded and barefooted in the midday 
September sun. At the cry of " Open a path for the Haji 
who would enter the House," the gazers made way. Two 
stout Meccans, who stood below the door, raised me in 
their arms, whilst a third drew me from above into the 
building. At the entrance I was accosted by several 
officials, dark-looking Meccans, of whom the darkest and 
plainest was a youth of the Beni Shaybah family, the true 
sangre azul of El Hejaz. He held in his hand the huge 
silver-gilt padlock of the Kaabah, and presently taking his 
seat upon a kind of wooden press in the left corner of the 


hall, he officially inquired my name, nation, and other par- 
ticulars. The replies were satisfactory, and the boy Moham- 
med was authoritatively ordered to conduct me round the 
building, and recite the prayers. I will not deny that, 
looking at the windowless walls, the officials at the door, 
and the crowd below — 

" And the place death, considering who I was," * 

my feelings were of the trapped-rat description acknow- 
ledged by the immortal nephew of his uncle Perez. This 
did not, however, prevent my carefully observing the scene 
during our long prayers, and making a rough plan with a 
pencil upon my white Ihram. 

Nothing is more simple than the interior of this cele- 
brated building. The pavement, which is level with the 
ground, is composed of slabs of fine and various colored 
marbles, mostly however white, disposed chequer-wise. The 
walls, as far as they can be seen, are of the same material, 
but the pieces are irregularly shaped, and many of them 
are engraved with long inscriptions in the Suls and other 
modern characters. The upper part of the walls, together 
with the ceiling, at which it is considered disrespectful to 
look,f are covered with handsome red damask, flowered 
over with gold,]; and tucked up about six feet high, so as to 

* However safe a Christian might be at Meccah, nothing could pre- 
serve him from the ready knives of enraged fanatics if detected in the 
House. The very idea is pollution to a Moslem. 

f I do not know the origin of this superstition ; but it would be un- 
safe for a pilgrim to look fixedly at the Kaabah ceiling. Under the 
arras I was told is a strong planking of Saj, or Indian teak, and above 
it a stuccoed Sath, or flat roof. 

% Exactly realising the description of our English bard : — 

" Goodly arras of great majesty, 
Woven with gold and silk so close and nere, 
That the rich metal lurked pr vily, 
As feigning to be hid from envious eye." 


be removed from pilgrims' hands. The ceiling is upheld by- 
three cross-beams, whose shapes appear under the arras : 
they rest upon the eastern and western walls, and are sup- 
ported in the centre by three columns about twenty inches 
in diameter, covered with carved and ornamented aloe 
wood. At the Iraki corner there is a dwarf door, called 
Bab el Taubah (of repentance), leading into a narrow pas- 
sage built for the staircase by which the servants ascend to 
the roof: it is never opened except for working purposes. 
The " Aswad " or " As'ad " corner is occupied by a flat- 
topped and quadrant-shaped press or safe in which at times 
is placed the key of the Kaabah. Both door and safe 
are of aloe wood. Between the columns and about nine 
feet from the ground ran bars of a metal which I could not 
distinguish, and hanging to them were many lamps said to 
be of gold. This completes the upholstery work of the hall* 
Although there were in the Kaabah but a few atten- 
dants engaged in preparing it for the entrance of pilgrims, 
the windowless stone walls and the choked-up door made 
it worse than the Piombi of Venice; the perspiration 
trickled in large drops, and I thought with horror what it 
must be when filled with a mass of jostling and crushing 
fanatics. Our devotions consisted of a two-prostration 
prayer, followed by long supplications at the Shami (west) 
corner, the Iraki (north) angle, the Yemani (south), and, 
lastly, opposite the southern third of the back wall. These 
concluded, I returned to the door, where payment is made. 
The boy Mohammed told me that the total expense would 
be seven dollars. At the same time he had been indulging 
aloud in his favorite rhodomontade, boasting of my great- 
ness, and had declared me to be an Indian pilgrim, a race 
still supposed at Meccah to be made of gold.* When seven 

* These Indians are ever in extremes, paupers or millionaires, and 
like all Moslems, the more they pay at Meceah the higher become 


dollars were tendered they were rejected with instance. 
Expecting something of the kind, I had been careful to 
bring no more than eight. Being pulled and interpellated 
by half a dozen attendants, my course was to look stupid, 
and to pretend ignorance of the language. Presently the 
Shaybah youth bethought him of a contrivance. Drawing 
forth from the press the key of the Kaabah, he partly 
bared it of its green-silk gold-lettered etui* and rubbed a 
golden knob quatrefoil-shaped upon my eyes, in order to 
brighten them. I submitted to the operation with good 
grace, and added a dollar — my last — to the former offering. 
The Sherif received it with a hopeless glance, and, to my 
satisfaction, would not put forth his hand to be kissed. 
Then the attendants began to demand vails. I replied by 
opening my empty pouch. When let down from the door 
by the two brawny Meccans I was expected to pay them, 
and accordingly appointed to meet them at the boy Moham- 
med's house ; an arrangement to which they grumblingly 
assented. When delivered from these troubles, I was con- 
gratulated by my sharp companion thus : " Wallah, Effendi ! 
thou hast escaped well ! some men have left their skins be- 

All pilgrims do not enter the Kaabah, and may refuse 
to do so for religious reasons. Umar Effendi, for instance, 

their character and religious titles. A Turkish Pacha seldom squanders 
so much money as does a Moslem merchant from the far East. Khuda- 
baksh, the Lahore shawl-dealer, owned to have spent 8001. in feastings 
and presents. He appeared to consider that sum a trifle, although, had 
a debtor carried off one tithe of it, his health would have been seriously 

* The cover of the key is made, like Abraham's veil, of three colors, 
red, Hack, or green. It is of silk, embroidered with golden letters, and 
upon it are written the Bismillah, the name of the reigning Sultan, 
" Bag of the key of the holy Kaabah," and a verselet from the "Family 
of Amran " (Koran, ch. 3). 


who never missed a pilgrimage, had never seen the interior. 
Those who tread the hallowed floor are bound, among 
many other things, never again to walk barefooted, to take 
up fire with the fingers, or to tell lies. Most really consci- 
entious men cannot afford the luxuries of slippers, tongs, 
and truth. Lying to the Oriental is meat and drink, and 
the roof that covers him. 

The Kaabah had been dressed in her new attire when 
we entered.* The covering, however, instead of being 
secured at the bottom to the metal rings in the basement, 
was tucked up by ropes from the roof and depended over 
each face in two long tongues. It was of a brilliant black, 
and the Hizam — the zone or golden band running round 
the upper portion of the building — as well as the Burka 
(face-veil) were of dazzling brightness. 

The origin of this custom must be sought in the ancient 
practice of typifying the church visible by a virgin or bride. 
The poet Ab el Rahim el Burai, in one of his Gnostic effu- 
sions, has embodied the idea : — 

" And Meccah's bride (i. e. the Kaabah) appeareth decked with (miracu- 
lous) signs." • 

This idea doubtless led to the face-veil, the covering, 
and the guardianship of eunuchs. 

The Meccan temple was first dressed as a mark of honor 
by Tubba the Himyarite when he Judaised. If we accept 
this fact, which is vouched for by oriental history, we are 
led to the conclusion that the children of Israel settled at 

* The use of the feminine pronoun is explained below. "When un- 
clothed, the Kaabah is called TJryanah (naked), in opposition to its nor- 
mal state, " Muhramah," or clad in Ihram. In Burckhardt's time the 
house remained naked for fifteen days; and now the investiture is 
effected in a few hours. 


Meccah had connected the temple with their own faith, 
and as a corollary, that the prophet of El Islam introduced 
their apocryphal traditions into his creed. The pagan 
Arabs did not remove the coverings : the old and torn 
Kiswah was covered with a new cloth, and the weight 
threatened to crush the building. From the time of Kusay, 
the Kaabah was veiled by subscription, till Abu Rabiat el 
Mughayrah bin Abdullah, who having acquired great 
wealth by commerce, offered to provide the Kiswah on 
alternate years, and thereby gained the name of El Adl. 
The ^Prophet preferred a covering of fine Yemen cloth, 
and directed the expense to be defrayed by the Bait el 
Mai, or public treasury. Umar chose Egyptian linen, 
ordering the Kiswah to be renewed every year, and the 
old covering to be distributed among the pilgrims. In the 
reign of Usman the Kaabah was twice clothed, in winter 
and summer. For the former season it received a Kamis, 
or Tobe (shirt of brocade), with an Izar, or veil ; for the 
latter a suit of fine linen. Muawiyah at first supplied linen 
and brocade ; he afterwards exchanged the former for 
striped Yemen stuff, and ordered Shaybah bin Usman to 
strip the Kaabah, and perfume the walls with Khaluk. 
Shaybah divided the old Kiswah among the pilgrims, and 
Abdullah bin Abbas did not object to this distribution.* 
The Calrph Maamum (9th century) ordered the dress to be 
changed three times a year. In his day it was red brocade 
on the 10th Muharram; fine linen on the 1st Rajab; and 
white brocade on the 1st Shawwal. At last he was in- 
formed that the veil applied on the 10th of Muharram was 

* Ayisha also, when Shaybah proposed to bury the old Kiswah, that 
it might not be worn by the impure, directed him to sell it, and to dis- 
tribute the proceeds to the poor. The Meccans still follow the first half, 
but neglect the other part of the order given by the " Mother of the 
Moslems." To the present day they continue to sell it. 



too closely followed by the red brocade in the next month, 
and that it required renewing on the 1st of Shawwal. This 
he ordered to be done. El Mutawakkil (9th century), 
when informed that the dress was spoiled by pilgrims, at 
first ordered two to be given, and the brocade shirt to be 
let down as far as the pavement ; at last he sent a new veil 
every two months. During the Caliphat of the Abassides 
this investiture came to signify sovereignty in El Hejaz, 
which passed alternately from Baghdad to Egypt and 
Yemen. When the Holy Land fell under the power of the 
Usmanli, Sultan Selim ordered the Kiswah to be black, and 
his son, Sultan Sulayman the magnificent (10th century), 
devoted considerable sums to the purpose. In El Idrisi's 
time (12th century) the Kiswah was composed of black 
silk, and renewed every year by the Caliph of Baghdad. 
Ibn Jubair writes that it was green and gold. The Kiswah 
remained with Egypt when Sultan Kalaun (13th century) 
conveyed the rents of two villages, " Baysus" and " Sind- 
bus," to the expense of providing an outer black and inner 
red curtain for the Kaabah, and hangings for the Prophet's 
tomb at El Medinah. The Kiswah was afterwards renewed 
at the accession of each Sultan. And the Wahhabi, 
during the first year of their conquest, covered the Kaabah 
with a red Kiswah of the same stuff as the fine Arabian 
Aba or cloak, and made at El Hasa. 

The Kiswah is now worked at a cotton manufactory 
called El Khurunfish, of the Tumn Bab el Shaariyah, Cairo. 
It is made by a hereditary family, called the Bait el Sadi, 
and, as the specimen in my possession proves, it is a coarse 
tissue of silk and cotton mixed. The Kiswah is composed 
of eight pieces — two for each face of the Kaabah — the 
seams being concealed by the Hizam, a broad band, which 
at a distance looks like gold ; it is lined with white calico, 
and supplied with cotton ropes. Anciently it is said all 


the Koran was interwoven into it. Now, it is inscribed, 
" Verily, the first of houses founded for mankind (to wor- 
ship in) is that at Bekkah ; blessed and a direction to all 
creatures ; " together with seven chapters, namely, the 
Cave, Mariam, the Family of Amran, Repentance, T. H. 
with Y. S. and Tabarak. The character is that called Tu- 
mar, the largest style of Eastern calligraphy, legible from a 
considerable distance. The Hizam is a band about two 
feet broad, and surrounding the Kaabah at two-thirds of its 
height. It is divided into four pieces, which are sewn toge- 
ther. On the first and second is inscribed the " Throne 
verselet," and on the third and fourth the titles of the 
reigning Sultan. These inscriptions are, like the Burka, or 
door curtain, gold worked into red silk, by the Bait el Sadi. 
When the Kiswah is ready at Khurunfish, it is carried in 
procession to the Mosque El Hasanayn, where it is lined, 
sewn, and prepared for the journey. 

After quitting the Kaabah, I returned home exhausted, 
and washed with henna and warm water, to mitigate the 
pain of the sun-scalds upon my arms, shoulders, and breast. 
The house was empty, all the Turkish pilgrims being still 
at Muna, and the old lady received me with peculiar atten- 
tion. I was ushered into an upper room, whose teak wain- 
scotings, covered with Cufic and other inscriptions, large 
carpets, and ample diwans, still showed a ragged splendor. 
The family had " seen better days," the Sherif Ghalib having 
confiscated three of its houses ; but it is still proud, and 
cannot merge the past into the present. In the " drawing- 
room," which the Turkish colonel occupied when at Mec- 
cah, the Kabirah supplied me with a pipe, coffee, cold 
water, and breakfast. I won her heart by praising the 
graceless boy Mohammed ; like all mothers, she dearly 
loved the scamp of the family. When he entered, and saw 
his maternal parent standing near me, with only the end of 


her veil drawn over her mouth, he began to scold her with 
divers insinuations. " Soon thou wilt sit amongst the men 
in the hall ! " he exclaimed. " O, my son," rejoined the 
Kabirah, " fear Allah, thy mother is in years ! " — and truly 
she was so, being at least fifty. " A-a-h ! " sneered the 
youth, who had formed, as boys of the world must do, or 
appear to do, a very low estimate of the sex. The old 
lady understood the drift of the exclamation, and departed 
with a half-laughing " may Allah disappoint thee ! " She 
soon, however, returned, bringing me water for ablution ; 
and having heard that I had not yet sacrificed a sheep at 
Muna, enjoined me to return and perform without delay 
that important rite. 

After resuming our laical toilette, and dressing gaily for 
the great festival, we mounted our asses about the cool of 
the afternoon, and returning to Muna, found the tent full 
of visitors. We sat down, and chatted together for an 
hour ; and I afterwards learned from the boy Mohammed, 
that all had pronounced me to be an "Ajemi." After 
their departure we debated about the victim, which is only 
a Sunnat, or Practice of the Prophet. It is generally sacri- 
ficed immediately after the first lapidation, and we had 
already been guilty of delay. Under these circumstances, 
and considering the meagre condition of my purse, I would 
not buy a sheep, but contented myself with watching my 
neighbors. They gave themselves great trouble, especially 
a large party of Indians pitched near us, to buy the victim 
cheap ; but the Bedouins were not less acute, and he was 
happy who paid less than a dollar and a quarter. Some 
preferred contributing to buy a lean ox. None but the 
Sherif and the principal dignitaries slaughtered camels. 
The pilgrims dragged their victims to a smooth rock near 
the Akabah, above which stands a small open pavilion, 
whose sides, red with fresh blood, showed that the prince 


and his attendants had been busy at sacrifice. Others 
stood before their tents, and, directing the victim's face 
towards the Kaabah, cut its throat, ejaculating " Bismil- 
lah ! Allahu Akbar ! " The boy Mohammed sneeringly 
directed my attention to the Indians, who, being a mild 
race, had hired an Arab butcher to do the deed of blood ; 
and he aroused all Shaykh Nur's ire by his taunting com- 
ments upon the chicken-heartedness of the men of Hind. 
It is considered a meritorious act to give away the victim 
without eating any portion of its flesh. Parties of Takruri 
might be seen, sitting vulture-like, contemplating the sheep 
and goats ; and no sooner was the signal given, than they 
fell upon the bodies, and cut them up without removing 
them. The surface of the valley soon came to resemble the 
dirtiest slaughter-house, and my prescient soul drew bad 
auguries for the future. 

We had spent a sultry afternoon in the basin of Muna, 
which is not unlike a volcanic crater. Towards night the 
occasional puffs of simoom ceased, and through the air of 
deadly stillness a mass of purple nimbus, bisected by a thin 
grey line of mist-cloud, rolled down upon us from the Taif 
hills. When darkness gave the signal, most of the pilgrims 
pressed towards the square in front of the Muna mosque, to 
enjoy the pyrotechnics and the discharge of cannon. But 
during the spectacle came on a windy storm, whose light- 
nings, flashing their fire from pole to pole, paled the 
rockets, and whose thunderings, re-echoed by the rocky 
hills, drowned the puny artillery of man. We were disap- 
pointed in our hopes of rain. A few huge drops pattered 
upon the plain and sank into its thirsty entrails ; all the rest 
was thunder and lightning, dust-clouds and whirlwind. 



All was dull after the excitement of the Great Festival. 
The heat of the night succeeding rendered every effort to 
sleep abortive ; and as our little camp required a guard in 
a place so celebrated for plunderers, I spent the great part 
of the time sitting in the clear pure moonlight. 

After midnight* we again repaired to the Devils, and, 
beginning with the Ula, or first pillar, at the eastern extre- 
mity of Muna, threw at each 1 stones (making a total of 21), 
with the ceremonies before described. 

On Thursday we arose before dawn, and prepared with 
a light breakfast for the fatigues of a climbing walk. After 
half an hour spent in hopping from boulder to boulder, we 
arrived at a place situated on the lower declivity of Jebel 

* It is not safe to perform this ceremony at an early hour, although 
the ritual forbids it being deferred after sunset. A crowd of women, 
however, assembled at the Devils in the earlier part of the 1 1th night 
(our 10th); and these dames, despite the oriental modesty of face-veils, 
attack a stranger with hands and stones as heartily as English hop-ga- 
therers hasten to duck the Acteon who falls in their way. Hence, popular 
usage allows stones to be thrown by the men until the morning prayers 
of the 11th Zu'l Hijjah. 


Sabir, the northern wall of the Muna basin. Here is the 
Majarr el Kabsh, "the Draggigg-place of the Ram;" a 
small whitewashed square, divided into two compartments. 
In the N.E. corner is a block of granite, in which a huge 
gash, several inches broad, some feet deep, and completely- 
splitting the stone in knife-shape, notes the spot where 
Ibrahim's blade fell when the archangel Gabriel forbade 
him to slay Ismail his son. We descended by a flight of 
steps, and under the stifling ledge of rock found mats and 
praying rugs, which, at this early hour, were not over 
crowded. We followed the example of the patriarchs, and 
prayed a two-prostration prayer in each of the enclosures. 
After distributing the usual gratification, we left the place, 
and proceeded to mount the hill, in hope of seeing some of 
the apes said still to haunt the heights. These animals are 
supposed by the Meccans to have been Jews, thus trans- 
formed for having broken the Sabbath by hunting. They 
abound in the elevated regions about Arafat and Taif, where 
they are caught by mixing the juice of the asclepias and nar- 
cotics with dates and other sweet bait. The Hejazi ape is a 
hideous cynocephalus, with small eyes placed close together, 
and almost hidden by a disproportionate snout ; a greenish- 
brown coat, long arms, and a stern of lively pink, like fresh 
meat. They are docile, and are said to be fond of spirituous 
liquors, and to display an inordinate affection for women. El 
Masud tells about them a variety of anecdotes. According 
to him, their principal use in Hind and Chin was to protect 
kings from poison by eating suspected dishes. The Be- 
douins have many tales concerning them. It is universally 
believed that they catch and kill kites by exposing the pink 
portion of their persons and concealing the rest : the bird 
pounces upon what appears to be raw meat, and presently 
finds himself viciously plucked alive. Throughout Arabia 
an old story is told of them. A merchant was once plun- 


dered during his absence by a troop of these apes : they 
tore open his bales, and charmed with the scarlet hue of the 
tarbushes began applying those articles of dress to uses 
quite opposite to their normal purpose. The merchant was 
in despair, when his slave oifered for a consideration to re- 
cover the goods. Placing himself in front, like a fugleman 
to the ape-company, he went through a variety of manoeu- 
vres with a tarbush, and concluded with throwing it far 
away. The recruits carefully imitated him, and the drill 
concluded with his firing a shot : the plunderers decamped 
and the caps were regained. 

Failing to see any apes, we retired to the tent ere the 
sun waxed hot, in anticipation of a terrible day. Nor were 
we far wrong. In addition to the heat, we had swarms of 
flies, and the blood-stained earth began to reek with noisome 
vapors. Nought moved in the air except kites and vul- 
tures, speckling the deep blue sky : the denizens of earth 
seemed paralysed by the sun. I spent the time between 
breakfast and nightfall lying half-dressed upon a mat, mov- 
ing round the tent-pole to escape the glare, and watching 
my numerous neighbors, male and female. The Indians 
were particularly kind, filling my pipe, offering cooled 
water, and performing similar little offices. I repaid them 
with a supply of provisions, which, at Muna market-prices, 
these unfortunates could ill-afford. 

When the moon arose the boy Mohammed and I walk- 
ed out into the town, performed our second day's lapida- 
tion, and visited the coffee-houses. The shops were closed 
early, but business was transacted in places of public re- 
sort till midnight. We entered the houses of numerous 
acquaintances, who accosted my companion, and were hos- 
pitably welcomed with pipes and coffee. The first question 
always was " Who is this pilgrim ? " and more than once 
the reply, " An Afghan," elicited the language of my own 


country, which I could no longer speak. Of this phenome- 
non, however, nothing was thought : many Afghans settled 
in India know not a word of Pushtu, and even above the 
Passes many of the townspeople are imperfectly acquainted 
with it. The Meccans, in consequence of their extensive 
intercourse with strangers and habits of travelling, are ad- 
mirable conversational linguists. They speak Arabic re- 
markably well, and with a volubility surpassing the most 
lively of our continental nations. Persian, Turkish, and 
Hindostani are generally known ; and the Mutawwifs, who 
devote themselves to particular races of pilgrims, soon be- 
come masters of the language. 

Returning homewards, we were called to a spot by the 
clapping of hands and the loud sound of song. We found 
a crowd of Bedouins surrounding a group engaged in their 
favorite occupation of dancing. The performance is wild in 
the extreme, resembling rather the hopping of bears than the 
inspirations of Terpsichore. The bystanders joined in the 
song ; an interminable recitative, as usual in the minor key, 
and as Orientals are admirable timists, it sounded like one 
voice. The refrain appeared to be — 

"LaYayha! LaYayha!" 

to which no one could assign a meaning. At other times 
they sang something intelligible. 

The style of the saltation, called Rufayhah, rivalled the 
song. The dancers raised both arms high above their heads, 
brandishing a dagger, pistol, or some other small weapon. 
They followed each other by hops, on one or both feet, 
sometimes indulging in the most demented leaps ; whilst the 
bystanders clapped with their palms a more enlivening mea- 
sure. This I was told is especially their war-dance. They 
have other forms, which my eyes were not fated to see. 


Amongst the Bedouins of El Hejaz, unlike the Somali and 
other African races, the sexes never mingle : the girls may 
dance together, but it would be disgraceful to perform in 
the company of men. 

After so much excitement we retired to rest, and slept 

On Friday, the 12th Zu'l Hijjah, the camels appeared, 
according to order, at early dawn, and they were loaded 
with little delay. We were anxious to enter Meccah in time 
for the sermon, and I for one was eager to escape the now 
pestilential air of Muna. 

Literally, the land stank. Five or six thousand animals 
had been slain and cut up in this Devil's Punch-bowl. I 
leave the reader to imagine the rest. The evil might be 
avoided by building "abattoirs," or, more easily still, 
by digging long trenches, or by ordering all pilgrims, 
under pain of mulct, to sacrifice in the same place. Un- 
happily, the spirit of El Islam is opposed to these pre- 
cautions of common sense. " Inshallah" and " Kismat" 
take the place of prevention and cure. And at Meccah, 
the head-quarters of the faith, a desolating attack of cho- 
lera is preferred to the impiety of " flying in the face of 
Providence," and the folly of endeavoring to avert inevitable 

Mounting our camels, and led by Masud, we entered 
Muna by the eastern end, and from the litter threw the 
remaining twenty-one stones. I could now see the principal 
lmes of shops, and, having been led to expect a grand display 
of merchandise, was surprised to find only mat-booths and 
sheds, stocked chiefly with provisions. The exit from Muna 
was crowded, for many, like ourselves, had fled from the 
revolting scene. I could not think without pity of those 
whom religious scruples detained another day and a half in 
this foul spot. 


After entering Meccah we bathed, and when the noon 
drew nigh we repaired to the Haram for the purpose of 
hearing the sermon. Descending to the cloisters below the 
Bab el Ziyadah, I stood wonderstruck by the scene before 
me. The vast quadrangle was crowded with worshippers 
sitting in long rows, and everywhere facing the central 
black tower : the showy colors of their dresses were not to 
be surpassed by a garden of the most brilliant flowers, and 
such diversity of detail would probably not be seen massed 
together in any other building upon earth. The women, a 
dull and sombre-looking group, sat apart in their peculiar 
place. The Pacha stood on the roof of Zem Zem, sur- 
rounded by guards in Nizam uniform. Where the principal 
ulema stationed themselves the crowd was thicker ; and in 
the more auspicious spots nought was to be seen but a 
pavement of heads and shoulders. Nothing seemed to 
move but a few dervishes, who, censer in hand, sidled 
through the rows and received the unsolicited alms of the 
faithful. Apparently in the midst, and raised above the 
crowd by the tall, pointed pulpit, whose gilt spire flamed in 
the sun, sat the preacher, an old man with snowy beard. 
The style of headdress called "Taylasan"* covered his 
turban, which was white as his robes, and a short staif sup- 
ported his left hand. Presently he arose, took the staff in 
his right hand, pronounced a few inaudible words, and sat 
down again on one of the lower steps, whilst a Muezzin, at 
the foot of the pulpit, recited the call to sermon. Then the 
old man stood up and began to preach. As the majestic 
figure began to exert itself there was a deep silence. Pre- 
sently a general " Amin" was intoned by the crowd at the 
conclusion of some long sentence. And at last, towards the 

* A scarf thrown over the head, with one end brought round under 
the chin and passed over the left shoulder, composes the " Taylasan." 


end of the sermon, every third or fourth word was followed 
by the simultaneous rise and fall of thousands of voices. 

I have seen the religious ceremonies of many lands, but 
never — nowhere — aught so solemn, so impressive as this 



My few remaining days at Meccah sped pleasantly. Umar 
Effendi visited me regularly, and arranged to accompany 
me furtively to Cairo. I had already consulted Mohammed 
Shiklibbha, — who suddenly appeared at Muna, having drop- 
ped down from Suez to Jeddah, and reached Meccah in time 
for pilgrimage, — about the possibility of proceeding east- 
ward. The honest fellow's eyebrows rose till they almost 
touched his turban, and he exclaimed in a roaring voice, 
" Wallah ! Eflendi ! thou art surely mad." Every day he 
brought me news of the different caravans. The Bedouins 
of El Hejaz were, he said, in a ferment caused by reports 
of the Holy War, want of money, and rumors of quarrels 
between the Sherif and the Pacha : already they spoke of an 
attack upon Jeddah. Shaykh Masud, the camel-man, with 
whom I parted on the best of terms, seriously advised my 
remaining at Meccah for some months even before proceed- 
ing to Sanaa. Others gave the same counsel. Briefly I 
saw that my star was not then in the ascendant, and resolved 
to reserve myself for a more propitious conjuncture by 
returning to Egypt. 


The Turkish colonel and I had become as friendly as two 
men ignoring each other's speech could be. He had derived 
benefit from some prescription ; but, like all his countrymen, 
he was pining to leave Meccah.* Whilst the pilgrimage 
lasted, said they, no mal de pays came to trouble them ; 
but, its excitement over, they could think of nothing but 
their wives and children. Long-drawn faces and continual 
sighs evidenced nostalgia. At last the house became a scene 
of preparation. Blue china-ware and basketed bottles of 
Zem Zem water appeared standing in solid columns, and 
pilgrims occupied themselves in hunting for mementos of 
Meccah, drawings, combs, balm, henna, tooth-sticks, aloe- 
wood, turquoises, coral and mother-o'-pearl rosaries, shreds 
of Kiswah-cloth and fine Abas, or cloaks of camels'-wool. 
It was not safe to mount the stairs without shouting 
" Tarik " — out of the way ! — at every step, on peril of meet- 
ing face to face some excited fair.* The lower floor was 
crowded with provision-vendors ; and the staple article of 
conversation seemed to be the chance of a steamer from 
Jeddah to Suez. 

Weary of the wrangling and chaffering of the hall below, 
I had persuaded my kind hostess, in spite of the surly skele- 
ton her brother, partially to clear out a small store-room in 
the first floor, and to abandon it to me between the hours 
of ten and four. During the heat of the day clothing is un- 
endurable at Meccah. The city is so " compacted together" 
by hills, that even the simoom can scarcely sweep it, the 
heat reverberated by the bare rocks is intense, and the nor- 

* Not more than one-quarter of the pilgrims who appear at Arafat 
go on to El Medinah ; the expense, the hardships, and the dangers of 
the journey account for the smallness of the number. 

f When respectable married men live together in the same house, a 
rare occurrence, except on journeys, this most ungallant practice of 
clearing the way is and must be kept up in the East. 


mal atmosphere of an eastern town communicates a faint 
lassitude to the body and irritability to the mind. The 
houses being unusually strong and well-built, might by 
some art of thermantidote be rendered cool enough in the 
hottest weather : they are now ovens.* It was my habit to 
retire immediately after the late breakfast to the little room 
upstairs, to sprinkle it with water, and lie down upon a 
mat. In the few precious moments of privacy notes were 
committed to paper, but one eye was ever fixed on the 
door. Sometimes a patient would interrupt me, but a doc- 
tor is far less popular in El Hejaz than in Egypt. The 
people, being more healthy, have less faith in physic : Shaykh 
Masud and his son had never tasted in their lives aught 
more medicinal than green dates and camels' milk. Occa- 
sionally the black slave girls came into the room, asking if 
the pilgrim wanted a pipe or a cup of coffee : they generally 
retired in a state of delight, attempting vainly to conceal 
with a corner of tattered veil a grand display of ivory con- 
sequent upon some small and innocent facetiousness. The 
most frequent of my visitors was Abdullah, the Kabirah's 
eldest son. This melancholy Jacques had joined our cara- 
van at El Hamra, on the Yambu road, accompanied us to 
El Medinah, lived there, and journeyed to Meccah with the 
Syrian pilgrimage ; yet he had not once come to visit me or 
to see his brother, the boy Mohammed. When gently re- 
proached for this omission he declared it to be his way — that 

* I regret being unable to offer the reader a sketch of Meccah, or of 
the Great Temple. The stranger who would do this should visit the 
city out of the pilgrimage season, and hire a room looking into the 
quadrangle of the Haram. This addition to our knowledge is the more 
required, as our popular sketches (generally taken from D'Ohsson) are 
utterly incorrect The Kaabah is always a recognisable building ; but 
the " View of Meccah " known to Europe is not more like Meccah than 
like Cairo or Bombay. 


he never called upon strangers until sent for. He was a per- 
fect Saudawi (melancholist) in mind, manners, and personal 
appearance, and this class of humanity in the East is almost 
as uncomfortable to the household as the idiot of Europe. 
I was frequently obliged to share my meals with him, as 
his mother — though most filially and reverentially entreated 
— would not supply him with breakfast two hours after the 
proper time, or with a dinner served up forty minutes 
before the rest of the household. Often, too, I had to curb, 
by polite deprecation, the impetuosity of the fiery old 
Kabirah's tongue. Thus Abdullah and I became friends, 
after a fashion. He purchased several little articles required, 
and never failed to pass hours in my closet, giving me much 
information about the country, deploring the laxity of 
Meccan morals, and lamenting that in these evil days his 
countrymen had forfeited their name at Cairo and Constan- 
tinople. His curiosity about the English in India was great, 
and I satisfied it by praising, as a Moslem would, their 
" politike," their even-handed justice, and their good star. 
Then he would inquire into the truth of a fable extensively 
known on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. 
The English, it is said, sent a mission to Mohammed, inquir- 
ing into his doctrines, and begging that Khalid bin Walid 
might be sent to proselytise them. Unfortunately, the 
envoys arrived too late — the Prophet's soul had winged its 
way to Paradise. An abstract of the Moslem scheme was, 
however, sent to the "Ingreez," who declined, as the founder 
of the new faith was no more, to abandon their own 
religion ; but the refusal was accompanied with expressions 
of regard. For this reason many Moslems in Barbary and 
other countries hold the English to be, of all " People of the 
Books," the best inclined towards them. 

Late in the afternoon I used to rise, perform ablution, 
and repair to the Haram, or wander about the bazaars till 


sunset. After this it was necessary to return home and 
prepare for supper — dinner it would be called in the West. 
The meal concluded, I used to sit for a time outside the 
street door in great dignity, upon a broken-backed black- 
wood chair, traditionally said to have been left in the house 
by one of the princes of Delhi, smoking a hookah, and 
drinking sundry cups of strong green tea with a slice of 
lime, a fair substitute for milk. At this hour the seat was 
as in a theatre, but the words of the actors were of a nature 
somewhat too Fescennine for the public. After nightfall 
we either returned to the Haram or retired to rest. Our 
common dormitory was the flat roof of the house ; under 
each cot stood a water-gugglet ; and all slej:>t, as must be 
done in the torrid lands, on and not in bed. 

I sojourned at Meccah but a short time, and, as usual 
with travellers, did not see the best specimens of the popu- 
lation. The citizens appeared to me more civilised and 
more vicious than those of El Medinah. They often leave — 

" Home, where small experience grows," 

and — " qui multum peregrinatur, raro sanctiflcatiir" — be- 
come a worldly-wise, God-forgetting, and Mammonish sort 
of folk. The pilgrim is forbidden, or rather dissuaded, 
from abiding at Meccah after the rites, and wisely. Great 
emotions must be followed by a reaction. And he who 
stands struck by the first aspect of Allah's house, after a 
few months, the marvel becoming stale, sweeps past it with 
indifference or something worse. 

There is, however, little at Meccah to offend the eye. 
Like certain other nations further west, a layer of ashes 
overspreads the fire : the mine is concealed by a green turf 
fair to look upon. It is only when wandering by starlight 
through the northern outskirts of the town that men may 



be seen with light complexions and delicate limbs, coarse 
turbans and Egyptian woollen robes, speaking disguise and 
the purpose of disguise. No one within the memory of 
man has suffered the penalty of immorality. Spirituous 
liquors are no longer sold, as in Burckhardt's day, in shops ; 
and some Arnaut officers assured me that they found con- 
siderable difficulty in smuggling flasks of " raki" from 

The Meccan is a darker man than the Medinite. The 
people explain this by the heat of the climate. I rather 
believe it to be caused by the number of female slaves that 
find their way into the market. Gallas, Sawahilis, a few 
Somalis, and Abyssinians, are embarked at Suakin, Zayla, 
Tajurrah, and Berbera, carried in thousands to Jeddah, and 
the Holy City has the pick of each batch. Thence the 
stream sets northward, a small current towards El Medinah, 
and the main line to Egypt and Turkey. Most Meccans 
have black concubines, and, as has been said, the appear- 
ance of the Sherif is almost that of a negro. I did not see 
one handsome man in the Holy City, although some of the 
women appeared to me beautiful. The male profile is high 
and bony, the forehead recedes, and the head rises unplea- 
santly towards the region of firmness. In most families 
male children, when forty days old, are taken to the 
Kaabah, prayed over, and carried home, where the barber 
draws with a razor three parallel gashes down the fleshy 
portion of each cheek, from the exterior angles of the eyes 
almost to the corners of the mouth. These " mashali," as 
they are called,* may be of modern date: the citizens 

* The act is called " Tashrit," or gashing. The body is also marked, 
but with smaller cuts, so that the child is covered with blood. Ali Bey" 
was told by some Meccans that the face-gashes served for the purpose 
of phlebotomy, by others that they were signs that the scarred was the 
servant of Allah's house. He attributes this male-gashing, like female 


declare that the custom was unknown to their ancestors. 
I am tempted to assign to it a high antiquity." In point 
of figure the Meccan is somewhat coarse and lymphatic. 
The young men are rather stout and athletic, but in middle 
age — when man " swills and swells" — they are apt to dege- 
nerate into corpulence. 

The Meccan is a covetous spendthrift. His wealth, 
lightly won, is lightly prized. Pay, pension, stipends, pre- 
sents, and the " Ikram" here, as at El Medinah, supply the 
citizen with the means of idleness. With him everything 
is on the most expensive scale, his marriage, his religious 
ceremonies, and his household expenses. His house is 
luxuriously furnished, entertainments are frequent, and the 
junketings of the women make up a heavy bill at the end 
of the year. It is a common practice for the citizen to 
anticipate the pilgrimage season by falling into the hands 
of the usurer. If he be in luck, he catches and " skins" 
one or more of the richest Hajis. On the other hand, 
should fortune fail him, he will feel for life the effect of 
interest running on at the rate of at least 50 per cent., the 
simple and the compound forms of which are equally fami- 
liar to the wily Sarraf.* 

tattooing, to coquetry. The citizens told me that the custom arose from 
the necessity of preserving children from the kidnapping Persians, and 
that it is preserved as a mark of the Holy City. But its wide diffusion 
denotes an earlier origin. Mohammed expressly forbad his followers 
to mark the skin with scars. These " beauty-marks" are common to 
the nations in the regions to the west of the Red Sea. The Barabarah 
of Upper Egypt adorn their faces with scars exactly like the Meccans. 
The Abyssinians moxa themselves in hecatombs for fashion's sake. I 
have seen cheeks gashed, as in the Holy City, among the Gallas. 
Certain races of the Sawahil trace around the head a corona of little 
cuts, like those of a cupping instrument. And, to quote no other instances, 
some Somalia raise ghastly seams upon their chocolate-colored skins. 
* The Indian "Shroff" — banker, money-changer, and usurer. 


The most unpleasant peculiarities of the Meccans are 
their pride and coarseness of language. They look upon 
themselves as the cream of earth's sons, and resent with 
extreme asperity the least slighting word concerning the 
Holy City and its denizens. They plume themselves upon 
their holy descent, their exclusion of infidels, their strict 
fastings, their learned men, and their purity of language. 
In fact, their pride shows itself at every moment ; but it is 
not the pride which makes a man too proud to do a dirty 
action. My predecessor did not remark their scurrility : he 
seems, on the contrary, rather to commend them for 
respectability in this point. If he be correct, the present 
generation has degenerated. The Meccans appeared to me 
distinguished, even in this foul-mouthed East, by the supe- 
rior licentiousness of their language. Abuse was bad 
enough in the streets, but in the house it became intole- 
rable. The Turkish pilgrims remarked, but they were too 
proud to take notice of it. The boy Mohammed and one of 
his tall cousins at last transgressed the limits of my endur- 
ance. They had been abusing each other vilely one day at 
the house-door about dawn, when I administered the most 
open reprimand : " In my country (Afghanistan) we hold 
this to be the hour of prayer, the season of good thoughts, 
when men remember Allah ; even the Kafir doth not begin 
the day with curses and abuse." The people around ap- 
proved, and even the offenders could not refrain from say- 
ing, " Thou hast spoken truth, O Effendi ! " Then the by- 
standers began, as usual, to " improve the occasion." " See," 
they exclaimed, " this Sulaymani gentleman, he is not the 
son of a Holy City, and yet he teacheth you — ye, the 
children of the Prophet ! — repent and fear Allah ! " They 
replied, " Verily we do repent, and Allah is a pardoner and 
the merciful ! " — were silent for an hour, and then abused 
each other more foully than before. Yet it is a good point 


in the Meccan character, that it is open to reason, can con- 
fess itself in error, and displays none of that doggedness of 
vice which distinguishes the sinner of a more stolid race. 
Like the people of Southern Europe, the Semite is easily 
managed by a jest: though grave and thoughtful, he is by 
no means deficient in the sly wit which we call humor, 
and the solemn gravity of his words contrasts amusingly 
with his ideas. He particularly excels in the Cervantic 
art, the spirit of which, says Sterne, is to clothe low sub- 
jects in sublime language. In Mohammed's life we find 
that he by no means disdained a joke, sometimes a little 
hasarde, as in the case of the Paradise-coveting old woman. 
The other redeeming qualities of the Meccan are his 
courage, his bonhomie, his manly suavity of manners, his 
fiery sense of honor, his strong family affections, his near 
approach to what we call patriotism, and his general know- 
ledge : the reproach of extreme ignorance which Burck- 
hardt directs against the Holy City has long ago sped to the 
limbo of things that were. The dark half of the picture is 
pride, bigotry, irreligion, greed of gain, immorality, and 
prodigal ostentation. 

Of the pilgrimage ceremonies I cannot speak harshly. 
It may be true that " the rites of the Kaabah, emasculated 
of every idolatrous tendency, still hang a strange unmean- 
ing shroud around the living theism of Islam." But what 
nation, either in the West or the East, has been able to cast 
out from its ceremonies every suspicion of its old idolatry ? 
What are the English mistletoe, the Irish wake, the Par- 
don of Brittany, the Carnival and the Worship at Iserna ? 
Better far to consider the Meccan pilgrimage rites in the 
light of Evil-worship turned into lessons of Good than to 
philosophise about their strangeness, and to err in asserting 
them to be insignificant. Even the Bedouin circumambu- 
lating the Kaabah fortifies his wild belief by the fond 


thought that he treads the path of " Allah's friend." At 
Arafat the good Moslem worships in imitation of the " Pure 
of Allah ;" * and when hurling stones and curses at three 
senseless little buttresses which commemorate the appear- 
ance of the fiend, the materialism of the action gives to 
its sentiment all the strength and endurance of reality. 
The supernatural agencies of pilgrimage are carefully and 
sparingly distributed. The angels who restore the stones 
from Muna to Muzdalifah, the heavenly host whose pinions 
cause the Kaabah's veil to rise and wave, and the myste- 
rious complement of the pilgrims' total at the Arafat ser- 
mon, all belong to the category of spiritual creatures walk- 
ing earth unseen, — a poetical tenet, not condemned by 
Christianity. The Meccans are, it is true, to be re- 
proached with their open Mammon worship, at times and 
at places the most sacred and venerable ; but this has no 
other effect upon the pilgrims than to excite disgust and 
open reprehension. Here, however, we see no such silly 
frauds as heavenly fire drawn from a phosphor-match ; nor 
do two rival churches fight in the flesh with teeth and nails, 
requiring the contemptuous interference of an infidel power 
to keep order. 

As regards the Meccan and Moslem belief that Abraham 
and his son built the Kaabah, it may be observed that the 
Genesitic account of the Great Patriarch has suggested to 
learned men the idea of two Abrahams, one the son of Terah, 
another the son of Azar (fire), a Prometheus, who imported 
civilisation and knowledge into Arabia from Harran, the 
sacred centre of Saba3an learning. Moslem historians all 
agree in representing Abraham as a star- worshipper in youth, 
and Eusebius calls the patriarch son of Athar ; his father's 
name, therefore, is no Arab invention. Whether Ishmael 

* Adam. 


or his sire ever visited Meccah to build the Kaabah is, in 
my humble opinion, an open question. The Jewish Scrip- 
ture informs us only that the patriarch dwelt at Beersheba 
and Gerar, in the S.W. of Palestine, without any allusion to 
the annual visit which Moslems declare he paid to their Holy 
City. At the same time Arab tradition speaks clearly and 
consistently upon the subject, and generally omits those 
miraculous and superstitious adjuncts which cast shadows of 
sore doubts upon the philosopher's mind. Those who know 
the habits of the expatriated Jews and Christians of the 
East — their practice of connecting all remarkable spots with 
their old traditions — will readily believe that the children 
of Israel settled in pagan Meccah saw in its idolatry some 
perverted form of their own worship. 

The amount of risk which a stranger must encounter at 
the pilgrimage rites is still considerable. A learned Orien- 
talist and divine intimated his intention, in a work published 
but a few years ago, of visiting Meccah without disguise. 
He was assured that the Turkish governor would now offer 
no obstacle to a European traveller. I would strongly dis- 
suade a friend from making the attempt. It is true that the 
Frank is no longer insulted when he ventures out of the 
Meccan Gate of Jeddah ; and that our vice-consuls and tra- 
vellers are allowed, on condition that their glance do not 
pollute the shrine, to visit Taif and the regions lying east- 
ward of the Holy City. Neither the Pacha nor the Sherif 
would, in these days, dare to enforce, in the case of an Eng- 
lishman, the old law, a choice thrice offered between cir- 
cumcision and death. But the first Bedouin who caught 
sight of the Frank's hat would not deem himself a man if he 
did not drive a bullet through the wearer's head. At the 
pilgrimage season disguise is easy, on account of the vast 
and varied multitudes which visit Meccah, exposing the tra- 
veller only to " stand the buffet with knaves who smell of 


sweat." But woe to the unfortunate who happens to be 
recognised in public as an infidel, — unless at least he could 
throw himself at once upon the protection of the govern- 
ment.* Amidst, however, a crowd of pilgrims, whose fana- 
ticism is worked up to the highest pitch, detection would 
probably ensure his dismissal at once al numero de> piu. 
Those who find danger the salt of pleasure may visit Meccah ; 
but if asked whether the results justify the risk, I should 
reply in the negative. And the vice-consul at Jeddah would 
only do his duty in peremptorily forbidding European tra- 
vellers to attempt Meccah without disguise, until the day 
comes when such steps can be taken in the certainty of not 
causing a mishap, which would not redound to our reputa- 
tion, as we could not in justice revenge it. 

On the 14th Zu'l Hijjah we started to perform the rite 
of Umrah, or Little Pilgrimage. After performing ablution, 
and resuming the Ihram with the usual ceremonies, I set out, 
accompanied by the boy Mohammed and his brother Ab- 
dullah. Mounting asses, which resembled mules in size and 
speed, j we rode to the Haram, and prayed there. Again 

* The best way would be to rush, if possible, into a house ; and the 
owner would then, for his own interest, as well as honor, defend a stran- 
ger till assistance could be procured. 

f Pliny is certainly right about this useful quadruped and its con- 
geners, the zebra and the wild ass, in describing it as " animal frigoris 
maxime impatiens." It degenerates in cold regions, unless, as in Afghan- 
istan and Barbary, there be a long, hot, and dry summer. Aden, Cutch, 
and Baghdad have fine breeds, whereas those of India and south-eastern 
Africa are poor and weak. The best and the highest-priced come from 
the Maghrib, and second to them ranks the Egyptian race. At Meccah 
careful feeding and kind usage transform the dull slave into an active 
and symmetrical friend of man : he knows his owner's kind voice, and 
if one of the two fast, it is generally the biped. The asses of the Holy 
City are tall and plump, with sleek coats, generally ash or grey-colored, 
the eyes of deers heads gracefully carried, an ambling gait, and ex- 


remounting, we issued through the Bab el Safa towards the 
open country N.E. of the city. The way Avas crowded with 
pilgrims, on foot as well as mounted, and their loud Lab- 
bayks distinguished those engaged in the Umrah rite from 
the many whose business was with the camp of the Damas- 
cus caravan. At about half a mile from the city we passed 
on the left a huge heap of stones, where my companions 
stood and cursed. This grim-looking cairn is popularly 
believed to note the place of the well where Abu Lahab laid 
an ambuscade for the Prophet. This wicked uncle stationed 
there a slave, with orders to throw headlong into the pit the 
first person who approached him, and privily persuaded his 
nephew to visit the spot at night : after a time, anxiously 
hoping to hear that the deed had been doue, Abu Lahab 
incautiously drew nigh, and was precipitated by his own 
bravo into the place of destruction. Hence the well-known 
saying in Islam, " Whoso diggeth a well for his brother shall 
fall into it himself:" We added our quota of stones, and 
proceeding, saw the Jeddah road spanning the plain like a 
white ribbon. In front of us the highway was now lined 
with coffee-tents, before which effeminate dancing-boys per- 
formed to admiring Syrians : a small whitewashed " bunga- 
low," the palace of the Emir el Hajj, lay on the left, and all 
around it clustered the motley encampment of his pilgrims. 
After cantering about three miles from the city, we reached 
the Alamain, or two pillars that limit the sanctuary ; and a 
little beyond it, is the small settlement, popularly called El 
Umrah. Dismounting here, we sat down on rugs outside a 
coffee-tent to enjoy the beauty of the moonlight night, and 
an hour of " Kaif " in the sweet air of the desert. 

Presently the coffee-tent keeper, after receiving payment, 

tremely sure-footed. They are equal to great fatigue, and the stallions 
have been known, in their ferocity, to kill the groom. The price varies 
from 25 to 150 dollars. 



brought us water for ablution. This preamble over, we 
entered the principal chapel; an unpretending building, 
badly lighted, spread with dirty rugs, full of pilgrims, and 
offensively close. Here we prayed the Isha, or night devo- 
tions, and then a two-prostration prayer in honor of the 
Ihram, after which we distributed gratuities to the guar- 
dians, and alms to the importunate beggars. And now I 
perceived the object of Abdullah's companionship. The 
melancholy man assured me that he had ridden out for love 
of me, and in order to perform as Wakil (substitute) a vica- 
rious pilgrimage for my parents. Vainly I assured him that 
they had been strict in the exercises of their faith. He 
would take no denial, and I perceived that love of me meant 
love of my dollars. With a surly assent, he was at last per- 
mitted to act for the " pious pilgrims Yusuf (Joseph) bin 
Ahmed and Fatimah bint Yunus," my progenitors. It was 
impossible to prevent smiling at contrasts, as Abdullah, 
gravely raising his hands, and directing his face to the 
Kaabah, intoned, " I do vow this Ihram of Umrah in the 
name of Yusuf son of Ahmed, and Fatimah daughter of 
Yunus ; then render it attainable to them, and accept it of 
them ! Bismillah ! Allahu Akbar !" 

Remounting, we galloped towards Meccah, shouting 
Labbayk, and halting at every half mile to smoke and drink 
coffee. In a short time we entered the city, and repairing 
to the Haram by the Safa Gate, performed the Tawaf, or 
circumambulation of Umrah. After this dull round and 
necessary repose we left the temple by the same exit, and 
mounting once more, turned towards the hill El Safa, which 
stands about 100 yards S. E. of the Mosque, and as little 
deserves its name of " mountain" as do those that undulate 
the face of modern Rome. The Safa end is closed by a 
mean-looking building, composed of three round arches, 
with a dwarf flight of steps leading up to them out of a 


narrow road. Without dismounting, we wheeled our 
donkeys round, "left shoulders forward" — no easy task 
in the crowd, — and vainly striving to sight the Kaabah 
through the Bab el Safa, performed the Niyat, or the run- 

After Tahlil, Takbir, and Talbiyat, we raised our 
hands in the supplicatory position, and twice repeated, 
"There is no god but Allah, alone without partner; his 
is the kingdom, unto him be praise ; he giveth life and 
death, he is alive and perisheth not ; in his hand is good, 
and he over all things is omnipotent." Then, with the 
donkey-boys leading our animals and a stout fellow pre- 
ceding us with a lantern and a quarter-staff to keep off the 
running Bedouins, camel-men, and riders of asses, we 
descended Safa, and slowly walked down the street El 
Masaa, towards Marwah. During our descent we recited 
aloud, " O Allah, cause me to act according to the Sunnat 
of thy Prophet, and to die in his faith, and defend me from 
errors and disobedience by thy mercy, O most merciful 
of the merciful !" Arrived at what is called the Batn el 
Wady (belly of the vale), a place now denoted by the 
Milain el Akhzarain (the two green pillars), one fixed in 
the eastern course of the Haram, the other in a house on 
the right side, we began the running by urging on our 
beasts. At length we reached Marwah. The houses clus- 
ter in amphitheatre shape above it, and from the Masaa, 
or street below, a short flight of steps leads to a platform, 
bounded on three sides like a tennis court, by tall walls 
without arches. The street, seen from above, has a bow- 
string curve : it is between 800 and 900 feet long, with 
high houses on both sides, and small lanes branching off 
from it. At the foot of the platform we brought the 
" right shoulder forward," so as to face the Kaabah, and 
raising hands to ears, thrice exclaimed, " Allahu Akbar." 


This concluded the first course, and, of these, seven com- 
pose the ceremony El Sai, or the running. 

There was a startling contrast with the origin of this 
ceremony, — 

" When the poor outcast on the cheerless wild, 
Arabia's parent, clasped her fainting child," — 

as the Turkish infantry marched, in European dress, with 
sloped arms, down the Masaa to relieve guard. By the 
side of the half-naked, running Bedouins, they looked as if 
epochs, disconnected by long centuries, had met. A laxity, 
too, there was in the frequent appearance of dogs upon this 
holy and most memorial ground, which said little in favor 
of the religious strictness of the administration. 

Our Sai ended at Mount Marwah. There we dismount- 
ed, and sat outside a barber's shop, on the right-hand of the 
street. He operated upon our heads, causing us to repeat, 
" O Allah, this my forelock is in thy hand, then grant 
me for every hair a light on the resurrection-day, O most 
merciful of the merciful !" This, and the praying for it, 
constituted the fourth portion of the Umrah, or Little 

Throwing the skirts of our garments over our heads, to 
show that our " Ihram" was now exchanged for the normal 
state, " Ihlal," we cantered to the Haram, prayed there a 
two-prostration prayer, and returned home not a little 



The lionizer has little work at the Holy City. "With 
the exceptions of Jebel Nur and Jebel Saur, all the places 
of pious visitation lie inside or close outside the city. It 
is well worth the traveller's while to ascend Abu Kubays ; 
not so much to inspect the Makan el Hajar and the Shakk 
el Kamar,* as to obtain an excellent bird's-eye view of the 
Haram and the parts adjacent. 

The boy Mohammed had applied himself sedulously to 
commerce after his return home ; and had actually been 
seen by Shaykh Nur sitting in a shop and selling small 
curiosities. With my plenary consent I was made over to 
Abdullah, his brother. On the morning of the 19th Sept. 
he hired two asses, and accompanied me as guide to the 
holy places. 

* The tradition of these places is related by every historian. The 
former is the repository of the Black Stone during the Deluge. The 
latter, "splitting of the moon," is the spot where the Prophet stood 
when, to convert the idolatrous Kuraysh, he caused half of the orb of 
night to rise from behind Abu Kubays, and the other from Jebel Kay- 
kaan, on the western horizon. This silly legend appears unknown to 
Mohammed's day. 


Mounting our animals, we followed the road before 
described to the Jannat el Maala, the sacred cemetery of 
Meccah. A rough wall, with a poor gateway, encloses a 
patch of barren and grim-looking ground at the foot of the 
chain which bounds the city's western suburb. Inside are 
a few ignoble, whitewashed domes ; all are of modern con- 
struction, for here, as at El Bakia, further north, the 
Wahabis indulged their levelling propensities. The rest of 
the ground shows some small enclosures belonging to par- 
ticular houses — equivalent to our family vaults — and the 
ruins of humble tombs, lying in confusion, whilst a few 
parched aloes spring from between the bricks and stones.* 

This cemetery is celebrated in local history : here the 
body of Abdullah bin Zubayr was exposed by order of 
ITajjaj bin Yusuf; and the number of saints buried in it has 
been so numerous, that even in the twelfth century many 
had fallen into oblivion. It is visited by the citizens on 
Fridays, and by women on Thursdays, to prevent that 
meeting of sexes which in the East is so detrimental to 
public decorum. 

After a long supplication, pronounced standing at the 
doorway, we entered, and sauntered about the burial- 
ground. On the left of the road stood an enclosure, which, 
according to Abdullah, belonged to his family. The door 
and stone slabs, being valuable to the poor, had been 
removed, and the graves of his forefathers appeared to 
have been invaded by the jackal. He sighed, recited a 
Fat-hah with tears in his eyes, and hurried me away from 
the spot. 

The first dome which we visited covered the remains 
of Abdel Rahman, the son of Abubekr, one of the worthies 

* The aloe here, as in Egypt, is hung, like the dried crocodile, over 
houses as a talisman against evil spirits. 


of El Islam, equally respected by Sunni and Shiah. The 
tomb was a simple catafalque, covered with the usual 
cloth. After performing our devotions at this grave, and 
distributing a few piastres to guardians and beggars, we 
crossed the main path, and found ourselves at the door of 
the cupola, beneath which sleeps the venerable Khadijah, 
Mohammed's first wife. The tomb was covered with a 
green cloth, and the walls of the little building were deco- 
rated with written specimens of religious poetry. A little 
beyond it, we were shown into another dome, the resting- 
place of Sitt Aminah, the Prophet's mother.* Burckhardt 
chronicles its ill usage by the fanatic Wahhabis : it has now 
been rebuilt in that frugal style which characterises the 
architecture of El Hejaz. An old woman exceedingly gar- 
rulous came to the door, invited us in, and superintended 
our devotions; at the end of which she sprinkled rose-water 
upon my face. When asked for a cool draught she handed 
me a metal saucer, whose contents smelt strongly of mastic, 
earnestly directing me to drink it in a sitting posture. 
This tomb she informed us is the property of a single 
woman, who visits it every evening, receives the contribu- 
tions of the Faithful, prays, sweeps the pavement, and 
dusts the furniture. We left five piastres for this respectable 
maiden, and gratified the officious crone with another shil- 
ling. She repaid us by signalling to some score of beggars 
that a rich pilgrim had entered the Maala, and their impor- 
tunities fairly drove me out of the hallowed walls. 

Leaving the Jannat el Maala, we returned towards 

* Burckhardt mentions the " Tomb of Umna, the mother of Moham- 
med," in the Maala at Meccah ; and all the ciceroni agree about the 
locality. Yet historians place it at Abwa, where she died, after visit- 
ing El Medinah to introduce her son to his relations. And the learned 
believe that the Prophet refused to pray over or to intercede for his 
mother, she having died before El Islam -was revealed. 


the town, and halted on the left side of the road, at 
a mean bnil cling called the Masjid el Jinn (of the Genii). 
Here was revealed the seventy-second chapter of the 
Koran, called after the name of the mysterious firedrakes 
who paid fealty to the Prophet. Descending a flight 
of steps, — for this mosque, like all ancient localities at 
Meccah, is as much below as above ground, — we entered 
a small apartment containing water-pots for drinking and 
all the appurtenances of ablution. In it is show the 
Mauza el Khatt (place of the writing), where Moham- 
med wrote a letter to Abu Masud after the homage of 
the genii. A second and interior flight of stone steps 
led to another diminutive oratory, where the Prophet 
used to pray and receive the archangel Gabriel. Hav- 
ing performed a pair of prostrations, which caused the 
perspiration to burst forth as if in a Russian bath, I paid 
a few piastres, and issued from the building with much 

We had some difficulty in urging our donkeys through 
the crowded street, called the Zukak el Hajar. Presently 
we arrived at the Bait el Naby, the Prophet's old house, 
in which he lived with the Sitt Khadijah. Here, says 
Burckhardt, the Lady Fatimah first saw the light ; and 
here, according to Ibn Jubair, Hasan and Husayn were 
born. Dismounting at the entrance we descended a deep 
flight of steps, and found ourselves in a spacious hall, 
vaulted, and of better appearance than most of the sacred 
edifices at Meccah. In the centre, and well railed round, 
stood a closet of rich green and gold stuffs, in shape not 
unlike an umbrella tent. A surly porter guarded the closed 
door, which some respectable people vainly attempted to 
open by honeyed words : a whisper from Abdullah solved 
the difficulty. I was directed to lie at full length npon my 
stomach, and to kiss a black-looking stone — said to be the 


lower half of the Lady Fatimah's quern — fixed at the bottom 
of a basin of the same material. Thence we repaired to a 
corner, and recited a two-prostration at the place where the 
Prophet used to pray the Sunnat and the Nafilah, or super- 
erogatory devotions. 

Again remounting, we proceeded at a leisurely pace 
homewards, and on the way we passed through the prin- 
cipal slave-market. It is a large street, roofed with mat- 
ting and full oi coffee-houses. The merchandise sits in 
rows, parallel with the walls. The prettiest girls occupied 
the highest benches, below them were the plain, and lowest 
of all the boys. They were all gaily dressed in pink and 
other light-colored muslins, with transparent veils over their 
heads ; and, whether from the effect of such unusual splen- 
dor, or from the reaction succeeding to their terrible land- 
journey and sea-voyage, they appeared perfectly happy, 
laughing loudly, talking unknown tongues, and quizzing 
purchasers, even during the delicate operation of purchas- 
ing. There were some pretty Gallas, douce-looking Abys- 
sinians, and Africans of various degrees of hideousness, from 
the half-Arab Somal to the baboon-like Sawahili. The 
highest price of which I could hear was QOl. And here I 
matured a resolve to strike, if favored by fortune, a death- 
blow at a trade which is eating into the vitals of industry 
in Eastern Africa. The reflection was pleasant, — the idea 
that the humble Haji, contemplating the scene from his 
donkey, might become the instrument of the total abolition 
of this pernicious traffic.* What would have become of 

* About a year since writing the above I was informed that a firman 
has been issued by the Porte suppressing the traffic from central Africa. 
Hitherto we have respected slavery in the Red Sea, because the Turk 
thence drew his supplies ; we are now destitute of an excuse. A single 
steamer would destroy the trade, and if we delay to take active 
measures, the people of England, who have spent millions in keep- 


that pilgrim had the crowd in the slave-market guessed his 
intentions ? 

Passing through the large bazaar, called the Suk el 
Lail, I saw the palace of Mohammed bin Aun, quondam 
Prince of Meccah. It has a certain look of rude magnifi- 
cence, the effect of huge hanging balconies scattered in 
profusion over lofty walls, elaire-voies of brick-work, and 
courses of various-colored stone. The owner is highly po- 
pular among the Bedouins, and feared by the citizens on 
account of his fierce looks, courage, and treachery. They 
described him to me as " vir bonus, bene strangulando 
peritus;" but Mr. Cole, who knew him personally, gave 
him a high character for generosity and freedom from fana- 
ticism. He seems to have some idea of the state which 
should "hedge in" a ruler. His palaces at Meccah, and 
that now turned into a Wakalah at Jeddah, are the only 
places in the country that can be called princely. He is 
now a state prisoner at Constantinople, and the Bedouins 
pray for his return in vain.* 

ing up a "West African squadron, will not hold us guiltless of negli- 

* This man was first invested with the Sherifat by Mohammed Ali 
of Egypt in a.d. 182*7, when Yahya, Prince of Meccah, fled, after stab- 
bing his nephew in the Kaabah, to the Beni Iiarb Bedouins. He was 
supported by Ahmed Pacha of Meccah, with a large army ; but after 
the battle of Tarabah, in which Ibrahim Pacha was worsted by the 
Bedouins, Mohammed bin Aun, accused of acting as Sylla, was sent in 
honorable bondage to Cairo. He again returned to Meccah, where the 
rapacity of his eldest son Abdullah, who would rob pilgrims, caused 
fresh misfortunes. In a.d. 1851, when Abd el Muttaleb was appointed 
Sherif, the Pacha was ordered to send Bin Aun to Stamboul ; no easy 
task. The Turk succeeded by a manoeuvre. Mohammed's two sons 
happening to be at Jeddah, were invited to inspect a man-of-war, and 
were there made prisoners. Thereupon the father yielded himself up ; 
although, it is said, the flashing of the Bedouin's sabre during his em- 
barkation made the Turks rejoice that they had won the day by state- 


The other places of pious visitation at Meccah are 
briefly these : — 

1. Natak el Naby, a small oratory in the Zukah el Ha- 
jar. It derives its name from the following circumstance : 
— As the Prophet was knocking at the door of Abubekr's 
shop, a stone gave him God-speed, and told him that the 
master was not at home. This wonderful mineral is of a 
reddish-black color, about a foot in dimension, and fixed in 
the wall somewhat higher than a man's head. There are 
servants attached to it, and the street sides are spread, as 
usual, with the napkins of importunate beggars. 

2. Maulid el Naby, or the Prophet's birth-place. This 
is a little chapel in the Suk el Lail, not far from Mohammed 
bin Aim's palace. It is below the present level of the 
ground, and in the centre is a kind of tent, concealing it is 
said, a hole in the floor upon which Aminah sat to be 

3. In the quarter " Shaab Ali," near the Maulid el Naby, 
is the birthplace of Ali, another oratory below the 

4. Near Khadijah's house and the Natak el Naby is a 
place called El Muttaka, from a stone against which the 
Prophet leaned when worn out with fatigue. It is much 
visited by devotees ; and some declare that, on one occa- 
sion, when the Father of Lies appeared to the Prophet in 
the form of an elderly gentleman and tempted him to sin 
by asserting that the mosque-prayers were over, this stone, 
disclosing the fraud, caused the fiend to flee. 

5. Maulid Hamzah, a little building near the Shebayki 
cemetery. Here was the Bazan, or channel down which 

craft. The wild men of El Hejaz still sing songs in honor of this Sherif, 
and the Sultan will probably never dismiss a prisoner who, though old, 
is still able and willing to cause him trouble. 


the Ayn Honayn ran into the Birkat Majid. Many author 
ities doubt that Hamzah was born at this place.* 

The reader must now be as tired of " pious visitations" 
as I was. 

Before leaving Meccah I was urgently invited to dine 
by old Ali, a proof that he entertained inordinate expecta- 
tions, excited, it appeared, by the boy Mohammed, for the 
simple purpose of exalting his own dignity. One day we 
were hurriedly summoned about 3 p.m. to the senior's 
house, a large building in the Zukah el Hajar. We found 
it full of pilgrims, amongst whom we had no trouble to 
recognise our fellow-travellers the quarrelsome old Arnaut 
and his impudent slave-boy. Ali met us upon the staircase 
and conducted us into an upper room, where we sat upon 
divans and with pipes and coffee prepared for dinner. Pre- 
sently the semicircle arose to receive a eunuch, who lodged 
somewhere in the house. He was a person of importance, 
being the guardian of some dames of high degree at Cairo 
or Constantinople : the highest place and the best pipe 
were unhesitatingly offered to and accepted by him. He 
sat down with dignity, answered diplomatically certain 
mysterious questions about the dames, and then glued his 
blubber lips to a handsome mouthpiece of lemon-colored 
amber. It was a fair lesson of humility for a man to find 
himself ranked beneath this high-shouldered, spindle-shank- 
ed, beardless bit of neutrality, and as such I took it duly to 

The dinner was served up in a " Sini," a plated copper 
tray about six feet in circumference, and handsomely orna- 
mented with arabesques and inscriptions. Under this was 
the usual Kursi, or stool, composed of mother-o'-pearl facets 

* The reader is warned that I did not see the five places above 
enumerated. The ciceroni and books mention twelve other visitations, 
several of which are known only by name. 


set in sandal wood ; and upon it a well-tinned and clean- 
looking service of the same material as the Sini. We began 
with a variety of stews ; stews with spinach, stews with 
bamiyah (hibiscus), and rich vegetable stews. These being 
removed, we dipped hands in " Biryani," a meat pillaw, 
abounding in clarified butter ; " Kimah," finely chopped 
meat ; " Warak Mahshi," vine leaves filled with chopped 
and spiced mutton, and folded into small triangles ; 
" Kabab," or bits of roti spitted in mouthfuls upon a splin- 
ter of wood ; together with a " Salatah " of the crispest 
cucumber, and various dishes of watermelon cut up into 
squares. Bread was represented by the eastern scone ; 
but it was of superior flavor and far better than the ill- 
famed Chapati of India. Our drink was water perfumed 
with mastic. After the meat came a " Kunafah," fine 
vermicelli sweetened with honey and sprinkled with pow- 
dered white sugar ; several stews of apples and quinces ; 
" Nuhallibah," a thin jelly made of rice, flour, milk, starch, 
and a little perfume ; together with squares of Rahah,* 
a confiture highly prized in these regions, because it comes 
from Constantinople. Fruits were then placed upon the 
table ; plates full of pomegranate grains and dates of the 
finest flavor. The dinner concluded with a pillaw of boiled 
rice and butter ; for the easier discussion of which we 
were provided with carved wooden spoons. 

Orientals ignore the delightful French art of prolonging 
a dinner. After washing your hands, you sit down, throw 

* Familiar for " Rahat el Hulkum," — the pleasure of the throat, — a 
name which has sorely puzzled our tourists. 

This sweetmeat would be pleasant did it not smell so strongly of 
the perruquier's shop. Rosewater tempts to many culinary sins in the 
East; and Europeans cannot dissociate it from the idea of a lotion. 
However, if a guest is to be honored, rosewater must often take the 
place of the pure element, even in tea. 


an embroidered napkin over your knees, and with a " Bis- 
millah," by way of grace, plunge your hand into the attrac- 
tive dish, changing ab libitum, occasionally sucking your 
finger-tips as boys do lollipops, and varying that diversion 
by cramming a chosen morsel into a friend's mouth. When 
your hunger is satisfied you do not sit for your compa- 
nions ; you exclaim " Al Hamd ! " edge away from the tray, 
wash your hands and mouth with soap, display signs of 
repletion, otherwise you will be pressed to eat more, seize 
your pipe, sip your coffee, and take your " Kaif." 

Nor is it customary, in these benighted lands, to sit 
together after dinner — the evening prayer cuts short the 
seance. Before we arose to take leave of Ali a boy ran into 
the room, and displayed those infantine civilities which in 
the East are equivalent to begging for a present. I slipped 
a dollar into his hand ; at sight of which he, veritable little 
Meccan, could not contain his joy. "The Riyal ! " he ex- 
claimed ; " the Riyal ! look, grandpa', the good Effendi has 
given me a Riyal ! " The old gentleman's eyes twinkled 
with emotion : he saw how easily money had slipped from 
my fingers, and he fondly hoped that he had not seen the 
last piece. " Verily thou art a good young man ! " he 
ejaculated, adding fervently, as prayers cost nothing, 
" May Allah further all thy desires." A gentle patting of 
the back evidenced high approval. 

I never saw Ali after that evening, but entrusted to the 
boy Mohammed what was considered a just equivalent for 
his services. 



A general plunge into worldly pursuits and pleasures an- 
nounced the end of the pilgrimage ceremonies. All the 
devotees were now " whitewashed," the book of their sins 
was a tabula rasa: too many of them lost no time in making 
a new departure " down south," and in opening a fresh ac- 

The Moslem's "Holy Week" over, nothing detained 
me at Meccah. For reasons before stated, I resolved upon 
returning to Cairo, resting there for awhile, and starting a 
second time for the interior, vid Muwaylah.f 

* The faith must not bear the blame of the irregularities. They 
may be equally observed in the Calvinist, after a Sunday of prayer, 
sinning through Monday with a zest, and the Romanist falling back 
with new fervor upon the causes of his confession and penance, as in 
the Moslem who washes his soul clean by running and circumambula- 
tion; and, in fairness, it must be observed that, as amongst Christians, 
so in the Moslem persuasion, there are many notable exceptions to this 
rule of extremes. Several of my friends and acquaintances date their 
reformation from their first sight of the Kaabah. 

f This second plan was defeated by bad health, which detained me 
in Egypt till a return to India became imperative. 


The Meccans are as fond of little presents as are nuns : 
the Kabirah took an affectionate leave of me ; begged me 
to be ^careful of her boy, who was to accompany me to 
Jeddah, and laid friendly but firm hands upon a brass 
pestle and mortar, upon which she had long cast the eye 
of concupiscence. 

Having hired two camels for thirty-five piastres, and 
paid half the sum in advance, I sent on my heavy boxes 
with Shaykh, now Haji Nur, to Jeddah.* Umar EfFendi 
was to wait at Meccah till his father had started, in com- 
mand of the dromedary caravan, when he would privily 
take ass, join me at the port, and return to his beloved 
Cairo. I bade a long farewell to all my friends, embracing 
the Turkish pilgrims, and mounting on donkeys, the boy 
Mohammed and I left the house. Abdullah the Melancholy 
followed us on foot through the city, and took leave of me, 
though without embracing, at the Shebayki quarter. 

Issuing into the open plain, I felt a thrill of pleasure — '■ 
such pleasure as only the captive delivered from his dun- 
geon can experience. The sunbeams warmed me into 
renewed life and vigor, the air of the desert was a perfume, 
and the homely face of nature was as the smile of an old 
friend. I contemplated the Syrian caravan, lying on the 
right of our road, without any of the sadness usually 
suggested by a last look. 

It is not my intention minutely to describe the line 
down which we travelled that night : the pages of Burck- 
hardt give full information about the country. Leaving 
Meccah, we fell into the direct road running south of 
Wady Fatimah, and traversed for about an hour a flat 
surrounded by hills. Then we entered a valley by a flight 

* The usual hire is thirty piastres, but in the pilgrimage season a 
dollar is often paid. The hire of an ass varies from one to three rivals. 


of rough stone stops, dangerously slippery and zigzag, 
intended to facilitate the descent for camels and laden 
beasts. About midnight we passed into a hill-girt Wady, 
now covered with deep sands, now hard with gravelly 
clay ; and finally, about dawn, we sighted the maritime 
plain of Jeddah. 

Shortly after leaving the city our party was joined by 
other travellers, and towards evening we found ourselves 
in force, the effect of an order that pilgrims must not 
proceed singly upon this road. Coffee-houses and places 
of refreshment abounding, we halted every five miles to 
refresh ourselves and the donkeys. At sunset we prayed 
near a Turkish guard-house, where one of the soldiers 
kindly supplied me with water for ablution. 

Before nightfall I was accosted in Turkish, by a one-eyed 
old fellow, who, — 

" With faded brow, 
Entrenched with many a frown, and conic beard,"— 

and habited in unclean garments, was bestriding a donkey 
faded as himself. When I shook my head, he addressed 
me in Persian. The same manoeuvre made him try Arabic : 
still he obtained no answer. He then grumbled out good 
Hindostani. That also failing he tried successively Pushtu, 
Armenian, English, French, and Italian. At last I could 
" keep a stiff lip " no longer ; at every change of dialect 

his emphasis beginning with "Then who the d are 

you?" became more emphatic. I turned upon him in 
Persian, and found that he had been a pilot, a courier, and 
a servant to eastern tourists, and that he had visited 
England, France, and Italy, the Cape, India, Central Asia, 
and China. We then chatted in English, which Haji Akif 
spoke well, but with all manner of courier's phrases ; Haji 
Abdullah so badly, that he was counselled a course of study. 



It was not a little curious to hear such phrases as " Come *p, 
Neddy," and " Ore nom dhm baudetf almost within ear- 
shot of the tomb of Ishmael, the birthplace of Mohammed, 
and the Sanctuary of El Islam. 

At about 8 p. m. we passed the Alamain, which define 
the Sanctuary in this direction. They stand about nine 
miles from Meccah. On the road, as night advanced, we 
met long strings of camels, some carrying Utters, others 
huge beams, and others bales of coffee, grain, and merchan- 
dise. Sleep began to weigh heavy on my companions' eye- 
lids, and the boy Mohammed hung over the flank of his 
donkey in a most ludicrous position. 

About midnight we reached a mass of huts, called El 
Haddah. At " the boundary," which is considered to be 
the half-way halting-place, pilgrims must assume the religious 
garb, and infidels travelling to Taif, are taken off the Mec- 
can road into one leading northwards to Arafat. The set- 
tlement is a collection of huts and hovels, built with sticks 
and reeds, supporting brushwood and burned and blackened 
palm leaves. It is maintained for supplying pilgrims with 
coffee and water. Travellers speak with horror of its heat 
during the day ; Ali Bey, who visited it twice, compares it 
to a furnace. Here the country slopes gradually towards 
the sea, the hills draw off, and every object denotes de- 
parture from the Meccan plateau. At El Haddah we dis- 
mounted for an hour's halt. A coffee-house supplied us 
with mats, water-pipes, and other necessaries; we then pro- 
duced a basket of provisions, the parting gift of the kind 
Kabirah, and, this late supper concluded, we lay down to 

After half an hour's halt had expired, and the donkeys 
were saddled, I shook up with difficulty the boy Moham- 
med, and induced him to mount. He was, to use his own 
expression, dead of sleep ; and we had scarcely advanced 


an hour when, arriving at another little coffee-house, he 
threw himself upon the ground, and declared it impossible 
to proceed. This act caused some confusion. The donkey- 
boy was a pert little Bedouin, offensively republican in man- 
ner. He had several times addressed me impudently, or- 
dering me not to flog his animal or to hammer its sides 
with my heels. On these occasions he received a contemp- 
tuous snub, which had the effect of silencing him. But, 
now, thinking we were in his power, he swore that he 
would lead away the beasts, and leave us behind to be rob- 
bed and murdered. A pinch of the windpipe, and a spin 
over the ground, altered his plan at the outset of execution. 
He gnawed his hand with impotent rage, and went away, 
threatening us with the governor of Jeddah next morning. 
Then an Egyptian of the party took up the thread of re- 
monstrance ; and, aided by the old linguist, who said, in 

English, " By G ! you must budge, you'll catch it 

here ! " he assumed a brisk and energetic style, exclaiming, 
" Yallah ! rise and mount, thou art only losing our time ; 
thou dost not intend to sleep in the Desert ! " I replied, 
" Son of my uncle, do not exceed in talk ! " * rolled over on 
the other side heavily, as doth Encelades, and pretended 
to snore, whilst the cowed Egyptian urged the others to 
make us move. The question was thus settled by the boy 
Mohammed, who had been aroused by the dispute : " Do 
you know," he whispered, in awful accents, "what that 
person is?" and he pointed at me. "Why, no," replied 
the others. "Well," said the youth, "the other day the 
Utaybah showed us death in the Zaribah Pass, and what 
do you think he did ? " " Wallah ! what do we know ! " 
exclaimed the Egyptian. "What did he do?" " He called 

* " Fuzul" (excess) in Arabic is equivalent to telling a man in Eng- 
lish not to be impertinent. 


for his dinner," replied the youth, with a slow and sarcastic 
emphasis. That trait was enough. The others mounted 
and left us quietly to sleep. 

I have been diffuse in relating this little adventure, 
which is characteristic, showing what bravado can do in 
Arabia. It also suggests a lesson, which every traveller in 
these regions should take well to heart. The people are 
always ready to terrify him with frightful stories, which are 
the merest phantoms of cowardice. The reason w T hy the 
Egyptian displayed so much philanthropy was that had one 
of the party been lost, the survivors might have fallen into 
trouble. But in this place, we were, I believe, — despite the 
declarations of our companions that it was infested with 
Turpins and Gasperonis, — as safe as if in Meccah. Every 
night, during the pilgrimage season, a troop of about fifty 
horsemen patrols the roads ; we were all armed to the teeth, 
and our party looked too formidable to be " cruelly beaten 
by a single footpad." 

Our nap concluded, we remounted and resumed the 
weary way down a sandy valley, in which the poor donkeys 
sank fetlock-deep. At dawn we found our companions 
halted, and praying at another little coffee-house. Here an 
exchange of what is popularly called " chaff" took place. 
"Well," cried the Egyptian, "what have you gained by 
halting ? We have been quiet here, praying and smoking 
for the last hour !" " Go, eat thy buried beans,"* we 
replied. " What does an Egyptian boor know of manliness ?" 
The surly donkey-boy was worked up into a paroxysm of 
passion by such small jokes as telling him to convey our 
salaams to the Governor of Jeddah, and by calling the asses 
after the name of his tribe. He replied by " foul, unman- 

* The favorite Egyptian " kitchen ;" held to be contemptible food 
by the Arabs. 


ncred, scurril taunts," which only drew forth fresh derision, 
and the coffee-house keeper laughed consumedly, having 
probably seldom entertained such " funny gentlemen." 

Shortly after leaving we found the last spur of the hills 
that sink into the Jeddah Plain. This view would for some 
time be my last of — 

" Infamous hills, and sandy, perilous wilds ;" 

and I contemplated it with the pleasure of one escaping 
from it. Before us lay the usual iron flat of these regions, 
whitish with salt, and tawny with stones and gravel ; but 
relieved and beautified by the distant white walls, whose 
canopy was the lovely blue sea. Not a tree, not a patch of 
verdure was in sight, nothing distracted our attention from 
the sheet of turquoises in the distance. Merrily the little 
donkeys hobbled on, in spite of their fatigue. Soon we dis- 
tinguished the features of the town, the minarets, the forti- 
fications, and a small dome outside the walls. 

The sun began to glow fiercely, and we were not sorry 
when, at about 8 a. St., after passing through the mass of 
hovels and coffee-houses, cemeteries and sand hills, which 
forms the eastern approach to Jeddah, we entered the for- 
tified Bab Makkah. Allowing eleven hours for our actual 
march, — we halted about three, — those wonderful donkeys 
had accomplished between forty-four and forty-six miles, 
generally of deep sand, in one night. And they passed the 
archway of Jeddah almost as nimbly as when they left 

Shaykh Nur had been ordered to take rooms for me in a 
vast pile of madrepore, once the palace of Mohammed bin 
Aun, and now converted into a Wakalah. Instead of so 
doing, Indian-like, he had made a gipsy encampment in the 
square opening upon the harbor. After administering the 


requisite correction, I found a room that would suit me. 
In less than an hour it was swept, sprinkled with water, 
spread with mats, and made as comfortable as its capability 
admitted. At Jeddah I felt once more at home. The Bri- 
tish flag was a restorative, and the sight of the sea acted as 
a tonic. The Maharattas were not far wrong when they 
kept their English captives out of reach of the ocean, 
declaring that we are an amphibious race, to whom the 
wave is a home. 

After a day's repose at the caravanserai, the camel-man 
and the donkey-boy clamoring for money, and I not having 
more than tenpence of borrowed coin, it was necessary to 
cash at the British vice-consulate a draft given to me by the 
Royal Geographical Society. With some trouble I saw Mr. 
Cole, who, suffering from fever, was declared to be " not at 
home." His dragoman did by no means admire my looks ; 
in fact, the general voice of the household was against me. 
After some fruitless messages, I sent up a scrawl to Mr. 
Cole, who decided upon admitting the importunate Afghan. 
An exclamation of astonishment and a hospitable welcome 
followed my self-introduction as an officer of the Indian 
army. Amongst other things, the vice-consul informed me 
that, in divers discussions with the Turks about the possi- 
bility of an Englishman finding his way en cachette to Mec- 
cah, he had asserted that his compatriots could do every- 
thing, even pilgrim to the Holy City. The Moslems politely 
assented to the first, but denied the second part of the pro- 
position. Mr. Cole promised himself a laugh at the Turks' 
beards ; but, since my departure, he wrote to me that the 
subject made the owners' faces look so serious, that he did 
not like recurring to it. 

Truly gratifying to the pride of an Englishman was our 
high official position assumed and maintained at Jeddah. 
Mr. Cole had never lowered himself in the estimation of the 

JEDDAH. 487 

proud race with which he has to deal, by private or mer- 
cantile transactions with the authorities. He has steadily 
withstood the wrath of the Meccan Sherif, and taught him 
to respect the British name. 

Jeddah has often been described by modern pens. 
Burckhardt (in a. d. 1814) devoted 100 pages of his two 
volumes to the unhappy capital of the Tehamet el Hejaz, 
the lowlands of the mountain region. When I visited it, 
it was in a state of commotion, owing to the perpetual 
passage of pilgrims, and provisions were for the same reason 
scarce and dear. The two large Wakalah, of which the 
place boasts, were crowded with travellers, and many were 
reduced to encamping upon the squares. Another subject 
of confusion was the state of the soldiery. The Nizam, 
or Regulars, had not been paid for seven months, and 
the Arnauts could scarcely sum up what was owing to 
them. Easterns are wonderfully amenable to discipline ; 
a European army, under the circumstances, w T ould proba- 
bly have helped itself. But the Pacha knew that there is 
a limit to man's endurance, and he was anxiously casting 
about for some contrivance that would replenish the empty 
pouches of his troops. The worried dignitary must have 
sighed for those beaux jours when privily firing the town 
and allowing the soldiers to plunder, was the oriental style 
of settling arrears of pay. 

Jeddah displays all the license of a seaport and garrison 
town. Fair Corinthians establish themselves even within 
earshot of the Karakun, or guard-post ; a symptom of 
excessive laxity in the authorities, for it is the duty of the 
watch to visit all such irregularities with a bastinado pre- 
paratory to confinement. My guardians and attendants at 
the Wakalah used to fetch araki in a clear glass bottle, 
without even the decency of a cloth, and the messenger 
twice returned from these errands decidedly drunk. More 


extraordinary still, the people seemed to take no notice of 
the scandal. 

The little " Dwarka" had been sent by the Bombay 
Steam Navigation Company to convey pilgrims from El 
Hejaz to India. I was still hesitating about my next 
voyage, not wishing to coast the Red Sea in this season 
without a companion, when one morning Umar EfFendi 
appeared at the door, weary, and dragging after him an 
ass more jaded than himself. We supplied him with a pipe 
and a cup of hot tea, and, as he was fearful of pursuit, we 
showed him a dark hole full of grass under which he might 
sleep concealed. 

The student's fears were realised ; his father appeared 
early the next morning, and having ascertained from the 
porter that the fugitive was in the house, politely called 
upon me. Whilst he plied all manner of questions, his 
black slave furtively stared at everything in and about the 
room. But we had found time to cover the runaway with 
grass, and the old gentleman departed, after a fruitless 
search. There was, however, a grim smile about his mouth, 
which boded no good. 

That evening I went out to the Hammam, and, return- 
ing home, found the house in an uproar. The boy Moham- 
med, who had been miserably mauled, was furious with 
rage, and Shaykh Nur was equally unmanageable, by 
reason of his fear. In my absence the father had returned 
with a posse comitatus of friends and relatives. They 
questioned the youth, who delivered himself of many cir- 
cumstantial and emphatic mis-statements. Then they pro- 
ceeded to open the boxes ; upon which the boy Mohammed 
cast himself sprawling, with a vow to die rather than to 
endure such a disgrace. This procured for him some scat- 
tered slaps, which presently became a storm of blows, when 
a prying little boy discovered Umar Effendi's leg in the 


hiding-place. The student was led away unresisting, but 
mildly swearing that he would allow no opportunity of 
escape to pass. I examined the boy Mohammed, and was 
pleased to find that he was not seriously hurt. To pacify 
his mind, I offered to sally out with him, and to rescue 
Umar Effendi by main force. This, which would only have 
brought us all into a brunt with quarter-staves, and similar 
servile weapons, was declined, as had been foreseen. But 
the youth recovered complacency, and a few well-merited 
encomiums upon his " pluck" restored him to high spirits. 

The reader must not fancy such escapade to be a 
serious thing in Arabia. The father did not punish his 
son ; he merely bargained with him to return home for a 
few days before starting to Egypt. This the young man 
did, and shortly afterwards I met him unexpectedly in the 
streets of Cairo. 

Deprived of my companion, I resolved to waste no 
time in the Red Sea, but to return to Egypt with the 
utmost expedition. The boy Mohammed having laid in a 
large store of grain, purchased with my money, having 
secured all my disposable articles, and having hinted that, 
after my return to India, a present of twenty dollars would 
find him at Meccah, asked leave, and departed with a cool- 
ness for which I could not account. Some days afterwards 
Shaykh Nur explained the cause. I had taken the youth 
with me on board the steamer, where a bad suspicion 
crossed his mind. " Now, I understand," said the boy 
Mohammed to his fellow-servant, " your master is a Sahib 
from India, he hath laughed at our beards." He parted as 
coolly from Shaykh "Nut. These worthy youths had been 
drinking together, when Mohammed, having learned at 
Stamboul the fashionable practice of " Bad-masti," or 
" liquor-vice," dug his " fives" into Nur's eye. Nur erro- 
neously considering such exercise likely to induce blind- 



ness, complained to me ; but my sympathy was all with the 
other side. I asked the Indian why he had not riposte, and 
the Meccan once more overwhelmed the "Miyan" with 
taunt and jibe. 

It is not easy to pass the time at Jeddah. Whilst the 
boy Mohammed remained he used to pass the time in 
wrangling with some Indians, who were living next door to 
us, men, women, and children, in a promiscuous way. 
After his departure I used to spend my days at the vice- 
consulate ; the proceeding was not perhaps of the safest, 
but the temptation of meeting a fellow-countryman, and of 
chatting " shop " about the service, was too great to be 
resisted. I met there the principal merchants of Jeddah. 

I now proceed to the last of my visitations. Outside 
the town of Jeddah lies no less a personage than Sittna 
Hawwa, the Mother of mankind. The boy Mohammed and 
I, mounting asses one evening, issued through the Meccan 
gate, and turned towards the north-east over a sandy j:>lain. 
After half an hour's ride, amongst dirty huts and tattered 
coffee-hovels, we reached the enceinte, and found the door 
closed. Presently a man came running with might from 
the town ; he was followed by two others ; and it struck me 
at the time that they applied the key with peculiar em- 
pressement, and made inordinately low congees as we 
entered the enclosure of whitewashed walls. 

" The Mother " is supposed to lie, like a Muslimah, front- 
ing the Kaabah, with her feet northwards, her head south- 
wards, and her right cheek propped by her right hand. 
Whitewashed, and conspicuous to the voyager and traveller 
from afar, is a diminutive dome with an opening to the 
west ; it is furnished as such places usually are in El Hejaz. 
Under it and in the centre is a square stone, planted up- 
right and fancifully carved, to represent the omphalic region 
of the human frame. This, as well as the dome, is called 


El Surrah, or the navel. The cicerone directed me to kiss 
this manner of hieroglyph, which I did, thinking the while 
that, under the circumstance, the salutation was quite 
uncalled for. Having prayed here, and at the head, where 
a few young trees grow, we walked along the side of the 
two parallel dwarf walls which define the outlines of the 
body : they are about six paces apart, and between them, 
upon Eve's neck, are two tombs, occupied, I was told, by 
Usman Pacha and his son, who repaired the Mother's 
sepulchre. I could not help remarking to the boy Moham- 
med, that if our first parent measured 120 paces from head 
to waist, and 80 from waist to heel, she must have presented 
much the appearance of a duck. To this the youth replied, 
flippantly, that he thanked his stars the Mother was under 
ground, otherwise that men would lose their senses with 

On leaving the graveyard I offered the guardian a dol- 
lar, which he received witn a remonstrance that a man of 
my dignity should give so paltry a fee. Nor was he at all 
contented with the assurance that nothing more could be 
expected from an Afghan dervish, however pious. Next 
day the boy Mohammed explained the man's empressement 
and disappointment, — I had been mistaken for the Pacha 
of El Medinah. 

•JC 3JC 5J» 5|C SjC 

For a time my peregrinations ended. Worn out with 
fatigue, and the fatal fiery heat, I embarked on board the 
" Dwarka," experienced the greatest kindness from the 
commander and chief officers (Messrs. Wolley and Taylor), 
and, wondering the while how the Turkish pilgrims who 
crowded the vessel did not take the trouble to throw 
me overboard, in due time arrived at Suez. And here, 
reader, we part. Bear with me while I conclude, in the 
words of a brother traveller, long gone, but not forgotten — 


Fa-hian — this Personal Narrative of my Journey to El 
Hejaz : " I have been exposed to perils, and I have escaped 
from them ; I have traversed the sea, and have not succum- 
bed under the severest fatigues ; and my heart is moved 
with emotions of gratitude, that I have been permitted to 
effect the objects I had in view." 


aWDlNGSECT. ntc22m 



DS Burton, Richard Francis 
207 Personal narrative